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Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Cross With Natural Species

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

genetically engineered mosquitoes

Story at-a-glance -

  • The largest release of Oxitec’s GE mosquitoes, dubbed OX513A, occurred in the city of Jacobina in Bahia, Brazil
  • About 450,000 male mosquitoes were released weekly for 27 months in the region in an attempt to reduce numbers of disease-carrying mosquitoes
  • The male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been genetically engineered to carry a "genetic kill switch," such that when they mate with wild female mosquitoes, their offspring inherits the lethal gene and supposedly cannot survive or reproduce in the wild
  • When analyzed six, 12 and 27 to 30 months after release, the researchers found “clear evidence” that the GE mosquitoes passed genes to local mosquitoes
  • Depending on the sample tested, anywhere from 10% to 60% of the mosquitoes in the area were found to contain some OX513A genome
  • After an initial decline, the mosquito population rebounded about 18 months after the GE mosquitoes were released

Biotech company Oxitec has created genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes in an attempt to control mosquito-borne diseases like yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

The male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been genetically engineered to carry a "genetic kill switch," such that when they mate with wild female mosquitoes, their offspring inherit the lethal gene and cannot survive or reproduce in the wild.


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