Experts oppose plan to breed mosquitoes

T. Abet,  Daily Monitor,  2021.

Environmentalists have opposed the plan to breed and release genetically modified mosquitoes in the country to curb malaria prevalence. They say the act presents substantial human and environmental health risks. Their objection follows last week’s announcement by scientists at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) that they have embarked on a series of activities aimed at breeding and releasing genetically modified mosquitoes (GMMs) that could curb malaria transmission. Dr Edward Nector Mwavu, an ecologist at Makerere University College of Agriculture and Environment Sciences, at the weekend said: “In science, we talk about the precautionary principle. If you don’t know much about something, you shouldn’t tamper with it. The concern is that we don’t know how these modified genes will react in the organisms that feed on mosquitoes.” He added: “The genes may cause problems or even change the genetic codes of the organisms that feed on them. We have heard about Covid-19 which is as a result of mutation.” Fish, chicken and wild birds are some of the organisms that feed on mosquitoes, but they are also eaten by man. Other wild organisms that feed on mosquitoes include bats, frogs, and dragonflies. The UVRI scientists explained that the GMMs will cause suppression in the population of mosquitoes that bite people thus sinking the transmission of malaria parasites.

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