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Old 11-19-2010, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default GM Mosquitoes Field Trial - Controversial?

About a year ago, genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes were released into the wild—and they have been flying under the world's radar screen until last week. On 11 November, British company Oxitec announced that it carried out the world's first small outdoor trial with transgenic Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman in the fall of 2009, followed by a larger study there last summer.

The trials were designed to test whether such designer mosquitoes could be successfully used to fight wild mosquitoes that transmit diseases like dengue fever. The announcement, made at a press briefing in London, has taken aback opponents of GM mosquitoes and surprised many researchers in the field of genetic control of insect vectors.

Some are questioning why the company stayed mum for so long, calling it a strategic mistake that provides critics of genetic modification with fresh ammunition. "I don't think they did themselves a favor," says Bart Knols, a medical entomologist at the University of Amsterdam. "This could well trigger a backlash."

For the entire story, see GM Mosquito Trial Strains Ties in Gates-Funded Project - ScienceInsider
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:07 AM   #2
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I am saddened by such a flagrant disregard for the Cartagena Protocol.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:19 PM   #3
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Oh my GOD!!! You two are waaaay too polite. What do you guys really think about this??? My knee jerk reaction is a major case of the heavie jeevies just thinking about a GM bug released like that and…. 350 miles from our coast!!! I’m thinking they were either out of their minds high on the adrenaline rush of possibly getting elevated to global “sainthood” status or having out of body experiences dreaming of higher profit margins for their company from bypassing a decade of controlled trials or…. some of both. There’s gonna be an international backlash. I don’t know what form that backlash is gonna take for using the Carribean as their laboratory but…. it’s coming. The arrogance of playing the super duper secret secret game gambling they'd walk away scott free…. will they? A mosquito like this has potential to lead to a silver bullet for malaria and they couldn’t play an ethical ball game??? Can we say unintended consequences in unison while fathoming what they might be and whose gonna take responsibility for them if they turn up down the road some day???? It’s not like they can pull a recall on this skeeter if things start going haywire. You know something…. I think the world’s got a bunch of narcissistic megalomaniacs on the loose playing God and I'm hoping they didn't just pave the way for more to behave without conscience.
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:31 PM   #4
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These are male mosquitoes, GM to be sterile. It is going to be hard for them to spread anywhere.

The WHO was aware of the study and did not see any wrong doing, according to the article.

The mosquito population fell 80%. I would like to have some of those GM males here in NC, please, if they can confirm they are sterile.

Let's not get hysterical about the words "genetically modified". Not everything GM is evil or has the potential to ruin the world.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:13 PM   #5
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"It is going to be hard for them to spread anywhere".... what direction do the prevailing winds in the Carribbean blow and.... one major weather event like a hurricane and they coulda ended up smack dab in Florida where we have too many threatened and endangered species to count. Totally reckless behavior considering unintended consequences IMHO but here's my REAL tears for what they did... "A mosquito like this has potential to lead to a silver bullet for malaria and they couldn’t play an ethical ball game???" How far back will their shenanigans set the work of honorable researchers genetically engineering Plasmodium spp.???
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:25 PM   #6
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A follow-up to the original post, pointing out the importance of full disclosure to all parties involved. No matter how good the intentions of a research project, it can turn into a public relations nightmare without careful consideration for public communication.
See "Letting the Bugs out of the Bag" at Letting the bugs out of the bag : Nature : Nature Publishing Group
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:07 AM   #7
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Default Key West mosquito control could go sci-fi

Key West mosquito control could go sci-fi

Key West could be the test-ground for a new and controversial form of mosquito control – genetically modified swarms carrying an “autocidal’’ gene
Posted on Friday, 11.11.11
By Curtis Morgan

Key West mosquito control could go sci-fi - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com
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Now, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and a British biotech company called Oxitec are poised to push the science into the largely uncharted, highly controversial waters of genetic engineering.

The plan is to release squadrons of genetically modified male mosquitoes in a section of Key West that is a haven for Aedes aegypti, the pesky yard-dwelling variety that can spread dengue fever. The hope of the test run, which would be a first in the United States, is that lab-bred bugs will mate with wild females and pass on a defect built into their DNA — an “autocidal’’ gene — that kills offspring.

The district and Oxitec tout the approach as a cheaper, more effective and more environmentally friendly method of targeting difficult-to-control disease carriers like Aedes aegypti...
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to be Released in the US for the First Time

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to be Released in the US for the First Time

Mike Barrett
NaturalSociety
December 23, 2011

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Future Release in US | Natural Society
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To those of you who have been eager to hear the latest news concerning the potential release of genetically modified mosquitoes – here it is. It turns out that the genetically modified mosquitoes could be released into the U.S. environment as early as January of 2012. A private firm plans to initiate the release of the GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Florida will be the first beta testing grounds to determine whether or not the mosquitoes lead to detrimental environmental and genetic impact. Residents in this area will also be subjected — without choice — to these genetically manipulated insects, unless the private firm decides to seek permission...
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #9
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Default Releasing Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Poses Unknown Risks To Florida

Releasing Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Poses Unknown Risks To Florida
December 25, 2011

Releasing Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Poses Unknown Risks To Florida // Current TV
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For instance, as Eric Hoffman of Friends of the Earth asks, “What are the ecological risks of released GE mosquitoes including the risk of disrupting food chains or providing a new ecological niche more dangerous insects to take the place of Aedes Aegypti (the type of mosquito believed to be associated with Dengue Fever)?” The fact is we simply do not know what kind of effects releasing genetically modified mosquitoes into a natural setting will have.

Furthermore, even if the experiment is successful, what would be the result of eradicating an entire population of mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are a food source for many types of fish, birds, and other insects, and removing them from the food chain would leave a potentially large gap for the creatures that rely on them for sustenance. In the end, we do not know what would happen to the delicate food chain if Aedes Aegypti are removed from the ecosystem.

Not only that, but...
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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Default Genetically modified mosquitoes may soon be released in Florida

Genetically modified mosquitoes may soon be released in Florida
February 14, 2012 By John
Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

Genetically modified mosquitoes may soon be released in Florida
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Though the vast majority of the GM mosquitos being released are male, which do not bite humans, a small percentage of them are female. So looking at the situation just from a human health perspective, what are the risks involved with a human getting bitten by a GM mosquito? Nobody really knows, as Oxitec has not conducted any long-term research on the safety of GM mosquitos interacting with other creatures or with humans...
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