Research

GM mosquitoes’ bio-safety in question

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Genetically modified mosquitoes are being developed by researchers that are capableof combating verctor borne diseases such as malaria, chikungunya and dengue. According to the Director of Public Health S. Elango clarifications are needed on the bio-safety of these mosquitoes. Public health administrators and governments could not take any chances with GM technology unless safety was assured.  After attending a World Health Organisation-sponsored meeting on bio-safety and interacting with experts involved in genetically modified technologies, Dr. Elango was categorical that more clarifications were needed about this technology that was being talked about as a tool to control diseases.

The concern was raised in the wake of the Bt Brinjal controversy coming to light recently. It is essential for public health authorities to seek clarifications and identify potential hazards. Not questioning much the usefulness of the technology, it was equally important that it did not endanger human, ecological or environmental safety. The technology was being experimented in laboratories through Oxitec Limited, a company to commercialise the technology developed by researchers of the University of Oxford, U.K. Addressing the legal, ethical and social implications of the release of GM vectors is vital, the scientists must explain and convince the public about its advantages.

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