I have a few family members that live in South America that have contracted Chikungunya from a mosquito bite. I must admit that thinking of going to visit the areas affected with my children frightens me a bit. So I understand why someone would want to get rid of mosquitoes in affected areas. But seriously are genetically modified mosquitoes the answer? It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. Dana Perls of Friends of the Earth put it this way: “This is an experimental technology which could have devastating impacts”. Friends of the Earth is an environmental group that’s part of an international coalition fighting this new generation of modified organisms.
What they are doing with this experiment is turning the females a bit more male. They want to transform the insects mouths so that they resemble male mosquito mouths. That way they can’t bite and spread the malaria parasite. They also the females become deformed and can’t lay eggs, so they become sterile.
They have the idea that if these modified mosquitoes are eventually proven to be safe and effective, they might be released in an African village that suffers from malaria. So they can crash local populations of the main species of mosquito that spreads malaria
Are they not worried about the importance these mosquitoes have in local ecosystems? How can they test what the real impact of releasing a mosquito like this would have on other species that feed on these mosquitoes?