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In the November 2011 issue of Scientific American, author Bijal Trivedi looks at the ongoing controversies surrounding the use of genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever. We asked biologist Mark Q. Benedict and Helen Wallace, the director of GeneWatch UK, to illuminate the issues surrounding the release of genetically modified insects into the wild.
Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Be an Important Tool in the Fight against Disease
By Mark Q. Benedict
Current technologies we use against mosquitoes simply are not adequate: existing measures are losing the war. The choice of implementing GM mosquitoes is not a choice of no risk versus risk, it is a matter of choosing the least risky among all existing choices in a war against very real continuing disease risk. More »
The Danger of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
By Helen Wallace
The release of genetically modified (GM) insects should follow a precautionary approach, because what appears well understood in the lab can have unintended consequences when released on a large scale into the environment. On release, GM mosquitoes become part of a complex system involving predators and prey, other mosquito species, four types of dengue virus, other tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, and the humans—including children—who are being bitten and infected. More »