lunes, octubre 31, 2011

Danger: GM mosquitoes


Dear Friends and colleagues,

RE: The Danger of GM Mosquitoes

Below is an article (Item 1) published in Scientific American, which raises concerns with regard to GM mosquitoes which have been released on a trial run in three countries thus far. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are the vectors for dengue fever, were genetically modified to carry a lethal gene which prevents the larvae from surviving in the absence of tetracycline. The author flags concerns related to health, ecology and pest control management. She also questions the ethical aspect of the releases and raises issues pertaining to regulatory oversight, the lack of genuine consultation; transparency and liability.
Another article giving the opposing view is also published in the same publication, please see “Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Be an Important Tool in the Fight against Disease” by Mark Q. Benedict.
In related news, the results of the world's first field trial with these GM mosquitoes were published yesterday in Nature Biotechnology. However, the research has raised concerns about possible unintended effects on public health and the environment (Item 2). Among the concerns raised were the possibility that the mosquitoes could evolve resistance to the lethal gene and the resistant mosquitoes might then be released inadvertently, the survival of insects to adulthood despite presumably carrying the lethal gene, and the ossibility of release of females (which bite humans and transmit dengue) due to sorting error, leading to a possible temporary increase in disease spread. Critics also say that Oxitec, the British biotechnology company that developed the GM mosquito, has rushed into field testing without sufficient review and public consultation, sometimes in countries with weak regulations.

With best wishes,

Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister,
10400 Penang,
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Item 1
The Danger of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
By Helen Wallace
Scientific American, October 24, 2011

Concerns Are Raised About Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes
Published: October 30, 2011

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