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GM mosquitoes

Claimed 'benefits' of GM mosquitoes disproven by Cayman trial results

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: GM mosquitoes, Oxitec, genetic experiments

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(NaturalNews) In 2010 when British biotechnology company Oxitec came up with the not-so-brilliant idea to release thousands of genetically-modified (GM) mosquitoes into the wild, we were all told that doing so would help combat dengue fever. Nearly two years later; however, this initial trial, which was launched unannounced in the Cayman Islands without public knowledge, has been shown to be a complete failure. GM mosquitoes, it turns out, cannot effectively stamp out dengue fever, and may even make the condition worse.

GM watchdog group GeneWatch UK reports that results from the trial, which were recently published for the first time in the journal Nature Biotechnology, reveal that Oxitec had to significantly alter its study criteria in order to give the appearance that its bio-engineered mosquitoes had any inhibitory effect whatsoever on the spread of dengue fever among native mosquitoes. And the company made these changes during the study, which renders its findings questionable at best.

"This poor quality paper pours cold water on the idea that Oxitec's GM mosquitoes will be an effective way to tackle dengue," said Dr. Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK. "Staff would be better employed using the well-established public health approach of removing mosquito breeding sites rather than in placing GM mosquito pupae at intervals across a site."

"Removing the flower pots and water containers where mosquitoes breed has the added benefit of reducing both mosquito species that spread dengue, not just one of them. It is hard to see how Oxitec can justify commercial releases of its GM mosquitoes based on such poor data."

Corporate 'junk' science to be used as backing for mass release of GM insects

But since Oxitec never even tried to scientifically justify launching the mosquitoes in the first place, it is hard to imagine that the company will suddenly attempt to use sound science in justifying any sort of commercial release. And the mainstream media does not seem all that concerned about the questionable findings of this flawed study, as news outlets in Florida are already claiming that the study proves the success of GM mosquitoes. (http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com)

This does not bode well for Floridians, of course, who are the next likely target of Oxitec's "Franken-mosquitoes." The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in fact, is currently reviewing an application filed by Oxitec to approve the release of GM mosquitoes in Florida, and it is very likely that the corrupt agency will use this flawed, corporate-funded study as "evidence" that GM mosquitoes are safe and effective.

"Promotion of GM mosquitoes as a way to tackle a tropical disease is part of a PR strategy intended to pave the way to a new global business selling GM agricultural pests," added Wallace. "GM olive flies, tomato borers, diamond back moths (which eat cabbages and broccoli), fruit flies and pink boltworms (cotton pests) will be just the start. Other ideas for the future include GM pesticide-resistant bees."

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