Malaysia-GM Mosquitoes By End Of Year

Oct. 14, 2010, 12:07 p.m.

At a press conference on the sidelines of the WHO regional meeting, Malaysian Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai "said the country would carry out a landmark field trial by releasing genetically modified mosquitoes designed to combat dengue fever,"Agence France-Pressereports. AFP notes that field trials had been delayed, but are "now back on track" after lab tests and approval from the country's biosafety board, according Liow. He added, "Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the GM anti-dengue mosquito trial will take place by the end of this year" (10/10).

The Associated Press/New York Times reports that "[t]he program calls for genetically engineered male mosquitoes to be released into the wild that would mate with females and produce offspring that live shorter lives, thus curbing the population" (10/11).

AFP reports that "environmentalists are concerned the GM mosquito could fail to prevent dengue and could also have unintended consequences." WHO's Shin said that the number of dengue cases worldwide "has doubled" in the past 10 years, "so we welcome how Malaysia is responding to this threat" (10/10).

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