Mutant bugs released to fight disease

The Day,  The Day,  2020.

Is it wrong to release modified mosquitoes into the wild? Supporters say genetically altered insects could eradicate deadly diseases, but opponents are warning of dangerous consequences.
Synthetic biology may offer the knock-out blow. This branch of genetic engineering allows scientists to edit the mosquito’s DNA and introduce a “self-limiting” gene. This artificial DNA sequence kills the biting females whilst leaving the modified males to spread the auto-destruct gene through the wild population.

Authorities have approved the scheme in Florida but environmental groups are furious, calling it a “Jurassic Park experiment” that will unleash a “mutant bug” into the ecosystem. Many argue that the modified mosquito may have unforeseen consequences, and an online petition against the plan already has 240,000 signatures.


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