Bill Gates, who recently bought 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock, is reportedly funding the approval of genetically modified mosquitoes. It seems that not only will genetically modified salmon enter the environment along with unforeseen changes, but a new self-sterilizing mosquito may be joining them.
The plan, concocted by United Nations’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, involves creating genetically modified mosquitoes that either kill or sterilize themselves.The United Nations’ aim is to combat Dengue fever through the genetic manipulation of nature.
As with other genetically modified organisms, the long-term repercussions are widely unknown, and introducing a genetically modified creature into the environment may make for the genetic coding of an entire species to be altered. The United Nations news service IRN reports:
Scientists fighting mosquito-borne diseases are racing to obtain approval to release genetically modified insects designed to stop the spread of dengue, a potentially fatal virus.
People generally do not like the unknown and are alarmist. Because there has never been a [field] release of GM [genetically modified] mosquitoes, critics are free to imagine what can possibly go wrong, said UK-based entomologist and professor at Imperial College London, John Mumford.
However, such moves have made environmentalists nervous as a science long used in agriculture is applied to public health.
These mosquitoes are engineered with an extra gene or inserted bacterium or have had a gene altered so that either their offspring are sterile and unable to spread dengue, or simply die.
The report goes on to credit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for funding Australian researchers from the University of Queensland, which received approval to release the genetically modified mosquitoes in December.
Australian researchers from the University of Queensland, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have received regulatory approval to begin in December to release mosquitoes infected with a bacterium that prevents the dengue virus from multiplying, as has the Malaysian Ministry of Health.