Genetically Modified Mosquitoes – UPSC Prelims

What are Genetically Modified Mosquitoes(GMM)?
  • These are the mosquitoes whose genome has been altered using recombinant DNA technology.
  • Their genome is altered in a way to favour the few desired physiological traits and the generation of desired biological products.
  • The desired trait of these GMM is to reduce the transmission of mosquito-borne human diseases.
How does GMM work?
  • Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are known to spread deadly diseases to humans such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.
  • Among them, only female mosquitoes will bite humans because they need blood to produce eggs.
  • The researchers have bioengineered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. These male mosquitoes will mate with wild female mosquitoes.
  • Further, the genetically engineered males carry a specific gene that prevents the female from producing essential protein for survival.
  • As the gene passes to their offspring, it will kill the female descendant at the early larval stages.
  • The gene does not affect the males’ survival. Further, the male will continue to possess the gene that will pass on to future generations.
  • Over time, the GMM will reduce the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Thereby reduce the spread of disease to humans.
Why in News?
  • Biotech firm Oxitec has released its Genetically Modified Mosquitoes(GMM) in Florida, USA.
  • Oxitec had previously released its modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Panama and Malaysia. The company had reported that local A. aegypti populations fell by at least 90% in those locations.
Scroll to Top