Genetically Modified Mosquitoes: What to Know

N. Pathak,  WebMD,  2021.

It sounds like something out of a movie: a biotech company releases genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild. But this is the real deal, a test that’s been done in a handful of countries around the world and that is underway in the U.S. Scientists hope these bugs can help them stop the spread of some dangerous viruses over time. What Is a Genetically Modified Mosquito? There are more than 200 types of wild mosquitoes buzzing around America and the U.S. territories. One type that’s common in many parts of the country, Aedes aegypti, can spread diseases like dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya through its bite.Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that have had their genes changed in a lab are intended to control the disease-carrying wild ones. It’s a possible alternative to insecticides, which are used so much in the U.S. that some mosquitoes have become resistant to them, meaning they shrug off the deadly effects. And certain insecticides can be toxic to beneficial bugs like bees.

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