Biotech firm announces results from first US trial of genetically modified mosquitoes
The first open-air study of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoesin the
US has been completed. According to Oxitec, developers of the GM
mosquitoes, the findings are favorable.
GM male/Aedes aegypti/mosquitoes carry agene
is lethal to female offspring. As these engineered males mate with the
wild females, the female offspring will expire before they can
reproduce. The lethal gene is carried by the male offspring and passed
on to half of their progeny. Eventually, the population of/A.
aegypti/mosquitoes is expected to reduce significantly, preventing the
transmission of vector-borne diseases such as Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya,
and Yellow Fever.
Nearly 5 million GM mosquitoes were released for the experiment, which
commenced in Florida Keys in April 2021. To observe if the technique was
effective, the researchers placed boxes of Oxitec mosquito eggs in
Florida Keys and surrounded them with traps that served as egg-laying
sites and for gathering adult mosquitoes. They collected over 22,000
eggs from the traps and these were observed in the laboratory. The
mosquitoes that carry the lethal gene fluoresce under a certain light,
thus it was easy for the researchers to recognize them. They confirmed
that these females died before becoming adults. The next step in the
research is to conduct a larger trial to confirm if GM mosquitoes can
reduce wild mosquito populations.
Biotech firm announces results from first US trial of genetically
modified mosquitoes (nature.com)