Africa Doesn’t Need Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Some scientists have proposed genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes as a solution to controlling malaria, a scourge that has been around for centuries and is spread by mosquitoes.

I am skeptical that this is the answer.

Through CRISPR technology, a gene that prevents procreation is inserted in the lab and is passed on to mosquitoes in the wild. In essence, it rapidly transmits a sterilizing mutation through other members of the mosquito’s species, eventually wiping out the insects.

Creating GM mosquitoes is a contentious topic. Supporters of the technology consider it a huge step forward in the war against mosquitoes and by extension, vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika. Critics of the idea, however, say it is dangerous to manipulate the DNA of any animal, and that experimentation could bring disastrous consequences that are yet unknown.

Africans should be included in these discussions. They should be allowed to have a say concerning a technology that could affect them and generations yet unborn if something should go wrong. Africans should have been consulted before the mosquitoes were created in the first place.

Read the full article at Scientific American

The Protest Against GMO

Recently, a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that 32% of the 65 tested food products comprised GM materials. These were being sold without any control from health and food regulators.

Numerous persons and organisations — under the banner ‘India For Safe Food’ — met the Karnataka Food Safety Commissioner on Monday demanding the removal of unapproved genetically modified food from the market.

Those in the India for Safe Food had approached the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for action, and receiving little response, they approached the State government’s body on Monday.

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