Zika virus + GMO mosquitoes

  1. Oxitec releases a GMO mosquito in a field trial
  2. Releases of the genetically engineered Oxitec mosquito, commonly known as ˜Friendly Aedes aegypti™, reduced the dengue mosquito population in an area of Juazeiro, Brazil by 95%, well below the modelled threshold for epidemic disease transmission. Most of the original mosquito population was wiped out.
  3. Zika in Brazil causes babies to be born with most of their brain missing. Zika has been seen in other countries before, but has never behaved like this behaves now.

1249-juazeiro-do-norte-locator-map
Juazeiro’s location
brazil
Where all the deformed babies are being born Legend: mais = more casos = cases
 

The OX513A strain of male mosquitoes released in Juazeiro creates larvae that normally die in the absence of antibiotics, which is supposed to help decimate wild mosquito populations when these males are released in the wild. Problem here being of course, that “life, uh, finds a way”. An estimated 3-4% of the larvae survive to adulthood in the absence of the tetracycline antibiotic. These larvae should then be free to go on and reproduce and pass on their genes. In fact, they may be the only ones that are passing on their genes in places that have their wild mosquito population decimated by these experiments.

by redditsucksatbanning The rapid spread of the Zika virus has prompted Latin American governments to urge women not to get pregnant for up to two years, an extraordinary precaution aimed at avoiding birth defects believed to be linked to the mosquito-borne illness. What until recently was a seemingly routine public health problem for countries that are home to a certain type of mosquito has morphed into a potentially culture-shaping phenomenon in which the populations of several nations have been asked to delay procreation. Artificial population control? https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/as-zika-virus-spreads-el-salvador-asks-women-not-to-get-pregnant-until-2018/2016/01/22/1dc2dadc-c11f-11e5-98c8-7fab78677d51_story.html