GeneticallyModified Mosquitoes Infiltrate The Cayman Islands

first_imgScientist recently released several batches of genetically-modified sterile male mosquitoes into the wilds of the Cayman Islands. This test release aims to reduce the overall population of the famously mosquito-rich isles by allowing the sterile Romeos to mate with the local females, thus reducing offspring in subsequent generations.This test is specifically being employed to fight Dengue Fever, a potentially fatal mosquito-born disease that causes 50 million cases every year. There is no treatment or vaccine. AdChoices广告The altered mosquitoes were created by British-based Oxitec Limited. From May through October, scientists released various waves of blank-shooting mosquitos into a 40-acre region of the islands. By August there had already been an 80% decrease in the mosquito population as compared to adjacent control areas.Sounds good, right? But not everyone agrees.“If we remove an insect like the mosquito from the ecosystem, wedon’t know what the impact will be,” said Pete Riley, campaign directorof GM Freeze, a British non-profit group that opposes geneticmodification.“Mosquito larvae might be food for otherspecies, which could starve if the larvae disappear. Or taking out adultmosquito predators might open up a slot for other insect species toslide in, potentially introducing new diseases.”IMHO while there have been no long-term research on the effects ofgenetically-modified products, there has also been no concrete scientific proof ofadverse effects. Furthermore, local governments around the world already take steps to use (often toxic) pesticides to control mosquito populations and the ecosystems haven’t so much as blinked. I’m a big fan of the book and movie Jurassic Park–but we shouldn’t allow it to effect public health policy without concrete scientific proof to tell us otherwise. Work like this could potentially save lives and livelihoods.image vialast_img read more