Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Terminating Aedes Aegypti

Zika virus has been the latest news people have been talking about due to the danger it opposes to humans. There are many ways Zika can be fought with but will the regulatory agencies allows for these methods to go through is the real question. In the past, the devastating situation of screwworms flies was fought and eradicated by genetically modifying them. Dr. H. J. Muller, a geneticist specializing in Drosophila (fruit flies), and Dr. Edward Knipling noted X-ray can change the biochemistry of fruit flies. When fruit flies are exposed to radiation on a greater scale they become sterile even though they can still mate but not reproduce. Releasing these sterile insects to mate with the screwworm flies should alter the screwworm biologically and this should eradicate the species, in which this experiment was successful.

Zika Virus, along with dengue chikungunya and yellow fever outbreaks of the past, are all spread from the same mosquito: Aedes Aegypti.This experiment is going to be called Oxitec which refers to mosquitoes embedded with a lethal gene to prevent offspring’s development. Only the male pupae will be released and hope to exterminate the species.

Although it is understandable of the long process these experiments have to go through, I believe this is necessary to maintain genetic modifying things. This is a well-constructed experiment. For those of us who are not extremely familiar with the realm of genetics, genetic modifying and inducing lethal genes may be a difficult concept to grasp and even harsh. There may be questions: such as what if those lethal genes affect us in some way? This is the reason why we need regulatory agencies to look over things researchers may not have thought of. I absolutely believe in going through these systems is a good way to keep a balance of genetic modification.

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