Should Hawaii use GM mosquitoes to save its endangered birds?

| | September 13, 2016
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The 2016 [World Conservation Congress] has been held in Hawaii, which is fitting, since the state is often referred to as the endangered-species capital of the world.

[M]osquitoes, which carry avian malaria, are a principal reason that just forty-two of more than a hundred species of native Hawaiian birds remain.

One way to protect the birds from malaria has been to kill mosquitoes with chemicals. But mosquitoes can breed in less than a teaspoon of water, and…[p]oison…also kills the plants and animals that surround them.

There are essentially three genetic approaches that might save the birds of Hawaii…[B]y far the most controversial, and the least likely to be used anytime soon…[is] gene-drive technology.

Imagine that by releasing a single mosquito into the wild you could cause all mosquitoes that transmit malaria and other deadly diseases to become harmless. This is the thrilling premise behind gene drives.

With gene drive, the stakes are particularly high, and we need to discuss them carefully—to decide as an informed society how we want to proceed.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Could Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Save Hawaii’s Endangered Birds?

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