GMO EXPERIMENT GOES HORRIBLY WRONG: “MUTANT” MOSQUITOES COULD CAUSE MASS DEATH
More adaptive mosquitoes likely to kill millions in South America
Remember the two-year experiment to release genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild to eradicate all the mosquitoes?
For years, we were all lectured by scientists and GMO pushers who insisted that genetically modifying male mosquitoes to be infertile would cause the termination of nearly all offspring as females mated with the GMO males. The result, we were told, would be a mass die-off of the mosquito population at large, saving human lives by avoiding the catastrophic effects of mosquito-borne disease.
Science would save us, in other words. And if we didn’t believe the hype, we were labeled “anti-science.”
At first, the experiment seemed to work. For the initial 18 months of the experiment carried out in Brazil — in which 450,000 genetically modified male mosquitoes were released into the wild — mosquito populations plummeted. But then something happened.
As published in the journal Nature, in a study entitled, “Transgenic Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes Transfer Genes into a Natural Population,” the very same modified genes we were told would never be passed to “in the wild” mosquito populations has, in fact, done exactly that.
Powered by these new genes (and combined with some behavioral adaptation explained below), the mosquito population surged back. Even worse, now the wild populations of mosquitoes in Brazil have these “mutant” genes which were combined from Cuba and Mexican mosquito populations, meaning these new gene-enhanced mosquitoes are now a kind of “super mutant” insect that may be resistant to all sorts of insecticides.
As the Nature study reveals:
Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature. The release strain was developed using a strain originally from Cuba, then outcrossed to a Mexican population. Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors.