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Apr 20, 2012

GM Mosquitoes in Brazil Attack the Spread of Dengue

On 10 April 2012 SciDev.Net reported on the results of a Brazilian scientific project that released gene-modified (GM) mosquitoes nearly a year ago in the city of Juazeiro, Brazil to combat the spread of dengue fever.  The release involved 10 million male GM mosquitoes.  Their task was to "override" the wild population of dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.  A year following their release, collected data demonstrates that 85% of new mosquito eggs now contain GM mosquito DNA.  The GM mosquitoes are in fact, overriding the native aedes aegypti population.

The GM mosquitoes were developed by the Brazilian company Moscamed. The GM mosquitoes received a gene that causes their offspring to die before adulthood.  In Juazeiro, Moscamed surveyed residents before releasing the GM mosquitoes and received a 90% approval.

The GM mosquito technology used by Moscamed was developed by the British firm Oxitec.  GM mosquito experiments have also been conducted in Malaysia and the Cayman Islands.  Opposition to the GM mosquito release in Brazil comes from international NGOs such as GeneWatch UK.  They are concerned about the potential for GM mosquitoes to survive and mutate.

The Brazilian National Biosafety Technical Committee has approved the use of GM mosquitoes in other Brazilian cities in the future.  

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About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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