‘Genetically engineered mosquitoes’ to catch dengue fever in the US

(Seoul = Yonhap News) Reporter Jinwook Kang = The Times reported on the 16th (local time) that the United Kingdom is trying to release genetically engineered mosquitoes to eradicate an exotic mosquito that carries the deadly dengue virus in California.

This is a method of releasing 2 million male mosquitoes with a ‘kill switch’ in their DNA, and letting them mate with an exotic female mosquito and kill the mosquito larvae produced before becoming an adult.

The dengue mosquito was first discovered in Los Angeles about 10 years ago and has now spread to 20 counties in California.

Proponents of genetically engineered mosquito testing argue that invasive mosquitoes from West Africa are at increased risk of transmitting dengue and other similar-causing Zika viruses and yellow fever.

Unlike native mosquitoes, which are usually active in the evening, exotic mosquitoes with black and white stripes are active during the day and are known to particularly like human blood.

US releases ‘genetically engineered mosquitoes’ that catch dengue fever mosquitoes (not directly related to the article)

[AFP 연합뉴스 자료사진. DB 및 재판매 금지]

Developed by British biotech firm OxyTech, genetically engineered dengue mosquitoes are entirely male, do not bite or spread infectious diseases, and only mate with exotic female mosquitoes of their own species, The Times reported.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved preliminary testing to release these mosquitoes in Tulare County, northern California, and OxyTech is now awaiting approval from the state of California.

Oxytech announced that it had succeeded in a preliminary experiment conducted in Florida last year.

The company’s chief executive, Gray Prandson, said: “We are now able to address the growing health threat in the United States from mosquitoes.”

OxyTech has also conducted experiments in Brazil, and the state of São Paulo has purchased genetically engineered mosquitoes developed by OxyTech.

However, the Times reported that not everyone agrees on the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes.

“We’re like lab rats,” said Angel Garcia of Californians for Pesticide Relief, in an interview with local media.

“If it’s really going to be a public health threat, we should be invited to the consultative table,” she said.

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2022/03/17 12:05 Send


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