GE Mosquitoes to be Released in Africa for the First Time

Africa may soon get lower rates of mosquito-borne diseases in the near future. This is after the National Biosafety Authority of Burkina Faso approved the release of up to 10,000 genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes to combat Malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. The approved release will be the first time that any GE animal will be released into the wild in the whole African continent.

According to Abdoulaye Diabate, Target Malaria's lead researcher for Burkina Faso, the GE mosquitoes have a "sterile male" mutation wherein none of the male mosquitoes will be capable of having an offspring. They are also weaker than natural mosquitoes, so they will die in a matter of months. The GE mosquitoes will be initially released this month in Bana, a village near the researchers' laboratory. Bana's residents have been informed about the release.

GE mosquitoes were previously released in Brazil and Cayman Islands, which successfully decreased the incidences of mosquito-borne diseases.

Read more from Scientific American.

This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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