Modified GM Mosquitoes to fight dengue in Malaysia
Alor Gajah (Malacca) and Bentong
(Pahang) have been picked for the release of
genetically modified (GM) male mosquitoes
next month to fight dengue despite worries in some quarters. Between
4,000 and 6,000 GM mosquitoes will be released into jungles in the
two areas to mate with female mosquitoes there.
The authorities expect this to result in the early death of the
mosquitoes’ larvae, which will theoretically lead to a reduction in
the number of Aedes aegypti.
They are initially interested only in determining how far GM
mosquitoes, which can live for three days, can fly and how long they
can survive outside of laboratories.
Research shows that mosquitoes can generally fly about 200m.
Biosafety Department director-general Letchumanan Ramanatha said the
experiment was not aimed at finding out how many mosquito larvae
died as a result of the release of GM mosquitoes.
Oxitec, a British-based insect biotech company, developed GM
A total of 38,330 people have been infected with dengue between
January and Oct 9, with 117 lives lost to the disease. Therewere
32,560 cases and 72 deaths over the same period last year.
As of this month, there were 228 dengue outbreak localities
nationwide, with 35 identified as hotspots.
The World Health Organisation estimates 50 million people worldwide
are infected with dengue annually.
2010/10/30 NST, GM mosquitoes to be released next month to fight