GM mosquitoes released to fight dengue in Cayman IslesNovember 14th, 2010 - 4:35 pm ICT by IANS
London, Nov 14 (IANS) Scientists have released three million genetically-modified (GM) mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands to fight dengue fever.
Batches of the male mosquitoes were released in a 40-acre area, from May to October, to mate with wild female counterparts of the same species, so they wouldn’t be able to produce any offspring. Only female mosquitoes bite humans and spread the disease.
By August, mosquito numbers in that region dropped by 80 percent compared with a neighbouring area where no sterile male mosquitoes were released, the Daily Mail reported.
“This test in the Cayman Islands could be a big step forward,” said Andrew Read, professor of biology and entomology at Pennsylvania State University.
“Anything that could selectively remove insects transmitting really nasty diseases would be very helpful,” he said, according to the journal PLoS Biology.
Dengue is a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease that can cause fever, muscle and joint pain, and hemorrhagic bleeding.
More than 2.5 billion people are at risk and the World Health Organisation estimates there are at least 50 million cases every year. There is no treatment or vaccine.
Unlike malaria, which is also spread by mosquitoes, dengue outbreaks are unpredictable and mosquito nets are of limited use because dengue-spreading mosquitoes also bite during the day.
Researchers at Oxitec Limited, an Oxford-based company in Britain, created sterile male mosquitoes by manipulating the insects’ DNA.
For years, scientists have been working to create mutant mosquitoes to fight diseases like malaria and dengue, which they say could stop outbreaks before the start. But, others suspect it could be an environmental nightmare.
“If we remove an insect like the mosquito from the ecosystem, we don’t know what the impact will be,” said Pete Riley, campaign director of GM Freeze, a British non-profit group that opposes genetic modification.
“Nature often does just fine controlling its problems until we come along and blunder into it,” he concluded.
- Can GM mosquitoes wipe out dengue? - Oct 24, 2010
- Malaysia release of GM insects 'may create uncontrollable new species' - Jan 27, 2011
- Mosquitoes home in on human body odour - Oct 02, 2011
- Genetically engineered mosquitoes thwart dengue spreaders - Nov 12, 2010
- Scientists create flightless mosquitoes to control dengue fever - Feb 23, 2010
- GM mosquito trials raise concern in India - Jul 23, 2009
- Chemistry of mosquito sex could be key to controlling dengue fever - Mar 20, 2011
- Scientists find way to decimate malarial mosquitoes - Aug 09, 2011
- Making mosquitoes pay for every bite - Jul 20, 2011
- Indian-origin led team makes cocktail against mosquitoes - Jun 02, 2011
- Transgenic fungi may help fight malaria: Study - Feb 25, 2011
- Promising new approach to blocking malaria transmission - Dec 05, 2010
- Study could lead to new ways of curtailing reproduction in harmful insects - Feb 27, 2011
- Boffins create malaria-proof mosquito - Jul 16, 2010
- Genetically modified mosquitos may help fight malaria - Mar 20, 2010
Tags: acre area, andrew read, campaign director, cayman isles, daily mail, environmental nightmare, female counterparts, female mosquitoes, gm mosquitoes, male mosquitoes, mosquito borne disease, mosquito nets, mosquito numbers, mosquitoes bite, muscle and joint pain, nasty diseases, pennsylvania state university, pete riley, plos biology, world health organisation