GM Mosquitoes Soon to be Released in Malaysia

Malaysia is about to field test genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in a small town in the state of Pahang.

The field test is occurring despite an outpouring of concern by scientists, civil society organizations, and local inhabitants. It is unclear if the inhabitants of the proposed site have even given their consent, which is required under the terms and condition for the release.

According to the Malaysian Association of Standards Users:

“The GE mosquitoes are genetically engineered to include two new traits: fluorescence and conditional lethality. The fluorescence trait acts as a marker for the GE mosquitoes. When the GE male mosquitoes mate with females in the wild, the conditional lethality trait will be passed on to the offspring and the resulting mosquito larvae will die, provided this happens in the absence of the antibiotic tetracycline.”

However, many questions about the mosquitoes remained unanswered -- How certain it is that the mosquitoes will not cause a new disease? And who will take responsibility if problems occur as a result of the experiment?

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