Burkina Faso aims to fight malaria with GMO mosquitoes, but activists warn of ‘species contamination’


Nonprofit group Project Target Malaria plans to conduct an experimental release of genetically engineered mosquitoes to stop the spread of malaria [in Burkina Faso], but activist groups say the plan is courting “catastrophe.”

The plan is to release genetically modified male mosquitoes to mate with “normal” wild females and produce offspring that are not viable,” says Dr. Abdoulaye Diabaté, lead researcher with Target Malaria.

“This will significantly reduce populations of these mosquitoes and contribute to the elimination of malaria,” says Dr. Diabaté, pointing out that current methods of malaria control both upstream and downstream ( insecticides, mosquito nets and preventive or curative pharmaceutical treatments) “show their limits.”

The Citizen Collective for agro-ecology, gathering about sixty organizations, is radically against the project …. “The release of genetically modified mosquitoes carries …. the risk of an appalling sanitary disaster …. the technology that Target Malaria ultimately wants to [use] will …. contaminate all the descendants of the species.“

Related article:  Nigerian biotech startup introduces produce coating to combat malnutrition in Africa

In September, the project received approval from the National Biosafety Agency to release sterile male genetically modified mosquitoes at two study sites.

In Burkina Faso, there were eight million cases of malaria estimated in 2016 and 21,000 deaths. [According to the World Health Organization] malaria resulted in 445,000 deaths in 2016 worldwide. 90% of malaria cases and 91% of deaths from this disease occurred in Africa.

[Editor’s note: This article was published in French. This summary was produced with Google Translate and edited for clarity.]

Read full, original article: Burkina: controversy around GMO mosquitoes against malaria

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend