I’m a biotech student working on my seminar thesis which revolves around the topic genetic modification of mosquitos to prevent tropical diseases with various methods (e.g. CRISPR/CAS)
I’m planning to do a survey as part of my and want to know:
– What you think of genetic modification of mosquitos?
Do you think its safe to use?
Would you support the commercial use as a replacement for insecticides?
Or do you think GM mosquitos or GM in general needs more research?
And your knowledge of biotech (e.g. grad student, doctorate, …)
It would be great if you would participate, and tell me what you think about this particular topic. I would really appreciate it!
Please also state if you are a Biotec-Student, Bachelor/Master or how you connect to this topic.
There are a lot of things to consider before we set off. I assume the idea of this approach is to target the female population of these dipterans. Since the breeding of mosquitoes is the major and root cause of all diseases, it should be tackled firsthand. Males are harmless to humans and other vertebrates so I suggest we use that to our advantage. I looked it up and GBIT & Oxitec are already working on this. They conducted trials in which GM lines of males were released to mate with wild type females. The males contained a dominant lethal gene that would pass on to the progeny. This results in the larvae perishing at the juvenile stage, eliminating the entire batch of to-be vectors.
There are some factors that need to be addressed before this is executed. Like the number of males to be released for natural mating must be high enough to compete with the males in the wild. Also, the bio-engineered mosquitoes need to be resistant to insecticides.
I think this is a pioneering step in disease resistance and it will be warmly received by both people and scientific world alike. The aforementioned trials were quite successful and showed a significant decline in the insect population. Diseases like malaria, dengue that should have been eradicated a long time ago, thanks to this we can see it actually coming to pass.