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Scientists prove new technology to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes

In Malaria, Uncategorized on April 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm
Ochlerotatus notoscriptus, Tasmania, Australia

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The researchers bred mosquitoes with a green fluorescent gene, as a marker that can easily be observed in experiments. They allowed these insects to mingle and mate with a small number of mosquitoes that carried a segment of DNA coding for an enzyme capable of permanently inactivating the fluorescent gene. After each generation, they counted how many mosquitoes still retained an active fluorescent gene.

They found that in experiments which began with close to 99% of green fluorescent mosquitoes, more than half had lost their green marker genes in just 12 generations. The study is the first successful proof-of-principle experiment of its kind, and suggests that this technique could similarly be used to propagate a genetic change within a wild mosquito population. More

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  1. Is this a good thing?

    I appreciate your sharing this information, but I find this type of genetic mutation disconcerning. Am I alone? I don’t understand how it really helps for malaria since such mosquitos feed at night when the person is asleep. No one can see even a phospherescent mosquito when asleep.

    Science has a long history of experimenting without consideration of consequences. Now that these changes are on the genetic level with unknown envioronmental impact, it would seem to me that we need to be more careful than we have been in the past. Bringing kudzu to America to control erosion or letting the gypsy moth out of a lab window by mistake are non-evasive compared to genetic changes past on through reproduction.

    I also think this makes stem cell research look like a walk in the park. Why has stem cell research met with such resistance yet this goes unchallenged?

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