What safety characteristics of gene drive and other genetically modified mosquitoes have been recommended for testing?

Categories: Gene Drive Mosquitoes, Gene Drive Safety

Phased testing will include examination of safety as well as efficacy characteristics. As recommended by the World Health Organization and the Convention on Biological Diversity, this would involve examination of possible adverse effects on human or animal health or the environment, including protection of biodiversity. Health hazards that have been identified as priorities for consideration include: the potential for the modification to cause increased abundance of mosquito species that carry the pathogen of interest; alteration that would result in an increased ability of mosquitoes to transmit the targeted pathogen or other pathogens; alterations that would reduce the ability to control the mosquitoes with conventional methods; increased allergenicity or toxicity of mosquitoes for humans or other organisms; or increased virulence of pathogens carried by the mosquito. Environmental hazards that have been identified as priorities include the potential for: spread of the modification to other species that would cause harm to the ecosystem; indirect harm to other species that depend on the modified mosquitoes for some essential service; increase in a harmful competitor species; or harmful higher order effects to the ecological community.

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