Zika Questions By: Gage Kemp & Luke Kotz
About The Zika Virus
What is currently being done to fight the Zika virus?
Could we use GMO mosquitos to remove the Zika carrying mosquito population?
The idea is to modify the mosquito genotype so they will not be able to reproduce. If the mosquitoes are released and mate with the wild-type mosquito, their 100% of the offspring would have the toxin. If a larva has the toxin, it would not be able to reproduce for the next generation. You would reduce the number of mosquitoes in that generation by about 90%.
It is very difficult to predict what will happen if you remove mosquitoes from the ecosystem, but there are not many organisms that feed on a specific and exclusive mosquito diet. The food chain will hardly be affected by targeting a specific species of mosquito, and not all mosquitoes. All these genetic modifying ideas are extremely specific. You just target one mosquito species at a time, which is very different from insecticides that kill not just all mosquitoes, but all insects, too.
When you release something that has a gene drive, however, could it potentially jump into other organisms, which is a worry of many citizens.
"Zika Virus." N.p., n.d. Web.
"GMOs Didn't Cause Zika Outbreak." FactCheckorg. N.p., 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 13 May 2016.
Powell, Harvard Staff Writer, Alvin. "Deploying Mosquitoes against Zika." Harvard Gazette. N.p., 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 May 2016.