United Kingdom has a plant to create “risk-free” genetically modified mosquitoes

Publié le 13 Oct, 2017

In the United Kingdom, the biotechnology company, Oxitec, a subsidiary of British company, Intrexon, “is constructing a huge plant“. The aim of this new facility costing €8.2 million, is to “produce a billion ‘risk-free’ mosquitoes every week to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main carrier of the Zika virus, chikungunya virus, dengue fever and yellow fever“. Known as the “friendly aedes aegypti“, the mosquito produced by Oxitec is a male that does not bite but which passes down a self-limiting gene to its offspring, “to prevent them from reaching adulthood“. Oxitec claims that, contrary to insecticides and mosquitoes infected by a bacterium[1], its mosquito has no environmental impact because it “perishes at the same time as its offspring“.


 For further reading: “Gene drive”: another step towards irresponsibility


 [1] Male mosquitoes infected by the Wolbachia bacterium are another solution under consideration to combat disease-carrying mosquitoes. “However, it might not have such a neutral impact on the environment and does not completely eradicate the species which could build up resistance over time“.

Ouest France, Alexandra Bourcier (3/10/2017)

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