By Amy Goodrich
On July 14, Google’s bio-lab began releasing the first batches of the 20 million bacteria-filled mosquitoes they plan to set free in the heart of California in an effort to shrink the population of mosquitoes that can carry life-threatening diseases. The project, called Debug Fresno, is an initiative led by Verily Life Sciences, an offshoot of Google’s parent company Alphabet, in collaboration with MosquitoMate and Fresno County’s Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.
According to the scientists, the goal of the project is to cut the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — which are known for spreading Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Over the course of 20 weeks, the company will release 1 million sterile, non-biting male mosquitoes in two 300-acre neighborhoods in Fresno County every week.