Thursday, December 20, 2012

GM Mosquitoes #2

In the previous post, GM Mosquitoes #1  we had seen about the GM mosquitoes used for curing malaria. Now, we are gonna see about the GM mosquitoes designed for eradicating mosquitoes population!

Aedes aegypti is the mosquito species which spreads Dengue. Nowadays, people are suffering severely because of this Dengue. In most cases it just leaves with mild fever. But, in some cases, Dengue is deadly! So, to get rid of this great dengue nuisance, scientists had found a solution - GM mosquitoes!

We had seen that in the case of eradication of malaria by GM mosquitoes that scientists had made the mosquitoes resistant to malaria causing protist, but, here in this case of dengue the genetic modification is different.

Dengue!
In the case of dengue, male mosquitoes are made sterile and when they mate with the wild type female mosquitoes, their young ones are made unviable i.e they die before reaching adult stage. So, this reduces the population of mosquitoes by the death of new born young mosquitoes. (they use male ones as they don't bite and feed only plant products)

How the sterile males are made?

  • In one case, they say they are injecting an artificial gene into the male mosquitoes which makes them sterile.
  • In the other case, the male mosquitoes are exposed to gamma rays which causes mutation and makes the males sterile!
Positives!
If this works out, the number of dengue victims will sharply come down. Moreover, you won't be bitten much!

Note: there is no medicine available for curing dengue.

Drawbacks!
  • Think, how harder it would be to separate male from female mosquitoes? This is the major disadvantage. :'(
  • Sudden elimination of one species may suddenly pave way for something worse ever! :(
  • If something goes wrong with this gamma ray mutation, even deadly species can come out! :O
Know this too!
  • Reports and articles I read says that already they had released these GM mosquitoes in the cayman islands.
  • Oxitec is the biotechnology company which is working on the production of this GM mosquitoes.
  • India (where i'm from) is also planning to use this technique for eradicating mosquitoes and reduce the number of dengue victims. 
Ethics!
After all, the Government or concerned authorities before releasing the GM mosquitoes into the environment, must inform the people living over there. Must get their feed backs! 

Releasing the GM mosquitoes with out prior information, won't be fine! This may lead to various ethical problems!

Just imagine!
They use males as they don't bite us (if they are biting us, then they won't try this at all, because we are always cautious that we would be affected) what if they affect plants? You  see, not a single mosquito is going to sit over a plant, when many mosquitoes sit and feed from plants, is it possible that they might affect the plants. Inturn, when we feed those plants, we will be getting affected?

Just I imagined this last paragraph, It's silly?  :)

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