A strain of man-made, genetically modified mosquitoes that was created to decrease bug populations has turned out to be stronger and harder to kill than the natural mosquitoes, a report says.
The report finds that an effort by scientist to create a sort of Trojan horse bug to infiltrate mosquito populations and kill them with a genetically modified bug that is supposed to be sterile has backfired spectacularly, according to The Sun newspaper.
Scientists created the species of bug and released it into the wild of the Brazilian forests near Jacobina, Brazil. The bug was supposed to decimate the mosquito population by reducing breeding. And for a short time, the bug population did begin to subside.
However, months later, researchers realized that the bug population sudden exploded.
Scientists now think that the man-made bug has proven much hardier than it was designed to be and is even harder to kill than the natural bugs.
“Now traces of the genetically modified genes have been found in the natural population,” the paper reported. “This means they are successfully interbreeding.”
“It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors,” the researchers wrote in their study.
Researcher Jeffrey Powell told News Atlas: “It is the unanticipated outcome that is concerning.”
Oxitec, the British biotech company running the project, assured members of the public that this negative result would not happen.
It then released 450,000 genetically mutated mosquitoes into the wild where interbreeding caused the spread of the mutated genes because the offspring failed to die.
In other words, these scientists have no clue what they have done. They created a bug that was supposed to kill disease-spreading mosquitoes, but not only did the bug population grow and their strain found propagating among them, but they don’t even know if their bug will stop the spread of the diseases that are killing people.
It’s like a bad late-night fright movie, mad scientists and all.
But, hey, “science.”
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