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GM Mosquitoes - Genetically modified gene released in Nature (Mar/20/2007 )

Scientists can now put an extraneous gene into an organism, such technology has been used to create GM Mosquitoes (genetically modified). Research has shown that these GM Mosquitoes, which loss the ability to transfer malaria with the genetic modification, can out-live wild type mosquitoes. Scientists expect to release these GM Mosquitoes and hopefully wipe out wild-types.

This is DANGEROUS! Firstly, we don't know if there is any effect that the new GM Mosquitoes species will do on malaria. Secondly, this is in effect a major step in introducing new genes into nature. We have all tried so hard to autoclave Petri dishes of E.coli with mutations. If we can introduce any gene into nature, what is the point of autoclaving them? A seemingly benefit is not an excuse, because it is by no means complete, and there won't be any complete guarantee of the consequences for introducing genetically modified species into nature.

All those being said, I don't feel too unsafe so far, because I trust nature's ability to adjust. In the end, homo sapiens is just a member of nature.


well, thanx so much cyberpostdoc for sharing and if you have the link , post it here please

i suggest creating a micro-inveronment/ecosystem to test the modified organisms (animals & insects)


I was concerned because there are more then one species of mosquitoes. Can one GM mosquito dominate the entire world? Also, apprently there is no food shortage for these insects, how could GM mosquitoes be dominant anyway? Does malaria infection affect their growth? Any entomologist here who can comment on it. I'd rather to kill as much as we can, than let another type to over-populate.


I don't like GM organisms and its benefits and risks are (in my opinion) often overestimated. There are many Anopheles species that serve as vector for Plasmodium. To have a chance to control malaria at least for all the common species, there should be an outperforming GM -variant. And the researchers have to introduce them in sufficent numbers that is in millions all in the tropics (e.g. for the "sterile insect technique", this is a method against e.g. screwworms, trypanosoma etc. transmitted by flies, where sterilized male flies are released into areas with the disease, millions of the flies have to be released, to have a change that they sterile males and wild females mate and no offspring is resulting). And there are many Plasmodium strains...
Second: If it works it would be an elegant method, much better than spraying tons of DDT (e.g. Global Eradication of Malaria Program from WH0) or eradicating with toxic chemicals every life in all standing water basins (even the smallest) in the disease area (also a well-tried method).

So, I don't think it will be successful, and if only temporarily. Nature will develop resistance against it (against Bt-maize there is already resistance reported).
In my opinon, with a predictable failure they shouldn't try. More money for tradional methods (net, traps, education, some spraying in heavy-disease areas, sterile male release) is much better, cheaper and has no unpredictable risks (if there are any).


i think they should make a mosquito that glows in the dark. that way i can see where they are at night.



But isn't ignorance bliss? With glowing mosquitoes you look out the window and see the whole area lit up.

If I recall the Nature article in question corretly, the GM mosquitoes are actually more fit then their malaria ridden relatives. Apparently Malaria intefers with the bug's gut, so the mosquitoes staves and bites more often (which better spreads the parasite). The GM bugs remove the malaria infection, they aren't straving so they are more fit. So GM mosquitoes rule the world... or so in theory.

Still hobglobin does raise a valid point. There are many species of mosquitoes (30-40) that transmit malaria. We only have one species of GM mosquitoe. To sucessfully beat malaria, this one GM bug has to beat 30 - 40 other species in their home niche in a swift fire wall of extinction. I don't see this happening and Malaria will develop resistence.

If they made GM bred for every one of the 30 - 40 species. Then the plan has a chance of avoiding outright failure.

These GM mosquitoes are a bit like our new antimalaria wonder drug Artemisinin. It is a silver bullet, but we get only one shot. Do it wrong and that is it. A fire wall of extinction of a plague can be done, we did it with small pox, nearly with polio and neally with Tuberculosis (now experiencing a dramatic resurgence... multiple resistence TB strain have appeared.. Not just resistent but totally immune to all know TB drugs.)

And finally ....

Damn those drug companies for even thinking of producing Artemisinin as a monodrug, we need it in combination mixture with exsisting drugs to avoid resistence developing. First new antimalaria drug in 50 odd years and they are going to replay the penicilin debacle.