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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Released To Fight Deadly Disease

In response to the declaration of a public health emergency over the dengue fever pandemic, Brazilian scientists recently released genetically modified mosquitoes into the environment.

More than 1 million dengue cases affected the world's population in the first two months of 2024, a sharp increase compared to previous years. according to To live science.almost half Eighty percent of the world's population lives in at-risk areas, there is no specific treatment available for the disease, and symptoms are often fatal when they develop.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 42,000 people have been infected since the start of 2024, leading to the declaration of a public health emergency, the Associated Press reported. report. In addition to releasing a dengue vaccine, Brazilian authorities have also given permission to private companies to breed genetically modified mosquitoes (GMMs) that carry a gene that kills female offspring before they reach adulthood, according to LiveScience.

Dengue fever is transmitted through the bite of female mosquitoes, so GMM is expected to cull entire mosquito populations and stop the spread of the disease, Live Science reported. (Related: Dengue outbreak hits U.S. after hitting other countries)

The company reportedly brought in to do this work is called Oxitec. Natalia Ferreira, general manager of the company, said: Said According to Reuters, their research could reduce the number of mosquitoes in at least one species by up to 90% in a single area. The system was previously used across the Florida Keys in the US in 2021, according to Live Science.

Residents reportedly signed petitions opposing their release, but these demands were ignored by authorities. Ultimately, approximately 750 million to 1 billion GMMs were released in Florida between 2021 and 2022, according to Futurism. Locals in Florida reportedly refer to the operation as a form of “terrorism.”

So far, no long-term studies have been conducted to estimate the impact of this research on the environment or human and animal health. “There have been concerns that these genetically modified mosquitoes may produce viable offspring that can survive and pass their genes on to native insects, but the outcome is unknown. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this could be harmful to humans,” Live Science writes. (Related: These are the craziest medical stories of 2023 (may make you gag))

But what if the GMM passed on its genes to other organisms? It all sounds pretty dystopian to me, since the purpose of the modification is to kill all the females before they reach adulthood.

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