GM MOSQUITOES (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     29th May 2024        
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Context: Recently, genetically modified (GMO) mosquitoes were released in Djibouti, East Africa to combat malaria.

  • It is part of the ‘Djibouti Friendly Mosquito Programme’ started two years ago to stop the spread of Anopheles stephensi, an invasive species of mosquito. 

Genetically Modified (GMO) Mosquitoes

  • About: GM mosquitoes are mosquitoes that have been implanted with a gene that was not originally present or naturally occurring in the insect. They are mass-produced in a laboratory to carry two types of genes.

oSelf-Limiting Gene: This gene prevents female mosquito offspring from surviving to adulthood.

oFluorescent Marker Gene: This gene glows under a special red light, allowing researchers to identify GM mosquitoes in the wild.

  • Preferential Inheritance: The development of gene drive enables the preferential inheritance of specific genes in targeted mosquitoes.
  • Disease Transmission Obstruction: This technology potentially obstructs the transmission of the Plasmodium parasite.
  • GM Mosquitoes and Disease Outbreaks

oNot for Active Outbreaks: The release of GM mosquitoes is not intended to stop an ongoing disease outbreak.

oPrevention of Outbreaks: GM mosquitoes are meant to help prevent future disease outbreaks.

oPopulation Reduction: Releasing GM mosquitoes over several months can reduce the number of a specific mosquito species, such as Ae. aegypti.