The Mixed Opinion on Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
Wouldn’t it be nothing short of a miracle if mosquito borne diseases could be eradicated for good? That we no longer lived in fear that one bite from an mosquito that could be infected with a myriad of diseases could cause a potential threat to our health or indeed, our life! Here’s an article about some scientific research that has been focusing on genetically modifying mosquitoes to lower their fertility rate and perhaps “knock out” certain types of species.
Using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technique, scientists have discovered a new way to limit the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes, which has the potential to block the transmission of diseases like Zika and malaria across whole continents. The team’s model shows that by modifying the gene coding of mosquitoes to lower fertility rates, and controlling the way those genes are passed on through generations, we could have a targeted and inexpensive way of knocking out certain species.
Of course, it is highly debatable as to whether getting rid of an entire species is ethical. There are mixed opinions and concerns about ‘playing with nature’.
Tackling the Zika virus last year, residents of South Florida were not happy about being the ‘lab rats’ for the test of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes. Their concerns were understandable.
You are releasing only genetically modified male mosquitoes. It’s only the female mosquitoes that take blood. These male mosquitoes do not take blood and do not get in contact with people. If you release these males in the wild, they will look for females of the same species, and they do not affect other organisms in the environment.
We can all help contribute to the threat of mosquitoes by making sure our mosquito control is up to date. If each of us took steps to protect our own homes, many neighborhoods would become safer places from these pests.
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