Genetically modified insects are being used to curb disease in Brazil, where mosquitoes are being engineered to fight against dengue fever, a disease with no vaccine that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Scientists added a deadly gene to this particular breed of mosquitoes so that they will die off after being released into the wild, which will curb the spread of dengue fever. Only the female variety actually bites, so they are destroyed in the lab. The males are released in the hope that they will mate with wild female mosquitoes and produce offspring that will die before spreading the disease.
More about genetic engineering:
- An estimated 75% of the packaged foods in US grocery stores are thought to contain genetically modified ingredients, particularly corn or soybeans.
- Scientists in South Korea created glow-in-the-dark cats by genetically altering them with fluorescent proteins in the hope of making animals with human genetic diseases.
- Bananas can be genetically modified to serve as vehicles for vaccinations, which would allow people to build up their immunity simply by consuming the fruit.