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Biotech

GM Mosquito Could Fight Malaria 281

qw0ntum writes "The BBC is reporting that a genetically modified (GM) variety of mosquitoes could be effective in combating the spread of malaria to humans. These GM insects carry a gene that prevents them from being infected by the malaria parasite and has the added benefit of providing a fitness advantage to the mosquitoes. From the article: 'In the laboratory, equal numbers of genetically modified and ordinary wild-type mosquitoes were allowed to feed on malaria-infected mice. As they reproduced, more of the GM, or transgenic, mosquitoes survived. According to the researchers, whose results appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, after nine generations, 70% of the insects belonged to the malaria-resistant strain. [...] The modified mosquitoes had a higher survival rate and laid more eggs.' This has major implications for the billions of people living in areas with endemic malaria. The question in my mind, though, is what effects on the ecosystems of these areas will replacing an organism low on the food chain with a GM version? Between the news we saw last week and biomagnification, could this wind up substituting one problem for another?"

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