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Malaysia unleashes 6,000 genetically-modified mosquitoes into wild

Monday, January 31, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Malaysia, mosquitos, health news

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(NaturalNews) Malaysian officials recently set loose thousands of "Frankenbugs" into the forests of Asia, purportedly to help curb the spread of dengue fever. Scientists programmed the 6,000 genetically-modified (GM) Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes in such a way that when they breed with females, the offspring will die early and thus reduce their overall population.

Only Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes are able to spread dengue fever, according to reports, so officials saw no problem with allowing the modified males to be released in an attempt to help reduce the mosquitoes' overall population. But Malaysian environmentalist groups and others expressed concern about the long-term effects of releasing such creatures into the wild.

Back in November, it was revealed that British scientists working for biotechnology giant Oxitec released millions of non-reproducing GM mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands as an experiment as well. The alleged goal of the endeavor was also to see if dengue fever could be wiped out by the introduction of GM mosquitoes (http://www.naturalnews.com/030449_mosquitos_...).

But simply wiping out an entire species may cause more harm than good, say opponents. If the offending mosquitoes are completely eliminated, they may simply be replaced in the ecosystem with another harmful species. And since little is know about the chain-reaction of events that may occur as a result, the project is really nothing more than a giant, untested experiment that cannot be reversed.

Unbeknownst to most people, mosquitoes are actually very important pollinators. They are also a food source for other species like birds and bats, some of which also play a vital role in agriculture. In other words, without mosquitoes, the food chain as we know it would cease to exist.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1350...
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