Release into environment genetically modified insects to extinguish mosquitoes that transmit serious diseases. This is the debate that is going on in the United States, where the population of Florida, Key West has said “no” to the release of GM mosquitoes.
Not only GM plants from the laboratory, genetic engineering has made progress. The study of the genome came to the production of genetically modified insects for application in health care against dengue fever.
In the control populations of harmful insects vectors of disease like Aedes aegypti, Oxitec‘s scientists – a British biotechnology company – have created a transgenic line that kills the larvae in order to reduce the nonnative Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in south Florida and beyond. The process involves inserting a gene into lab-grown male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The added DNA makes it impossible for their offspring to survive.
Trials have already taken place with success in Brazil, Malaysia, Panama and the Cayman Islands showed a more than 90 percent drop in mosquito populations. Despite the positive results, more than 145,000 people had signed a petition at change.org expressing negatively. Even potential boosters say those responsible must do more to show that benefits outweigh the risks.
People think that is a bad idea because once released into the environment, there is no way to stop the experiment if there are any unintended consequences. There are too many unknown variables and ecological interactions to account for in this situation. The unintended consequences might not be realized until long after these scientists and the politicians involved are dead and buried, leaving those who come after us to clean up their mistake if that is possible.
Written by Sara Bidinost