from the as-long-as-they-cannot-play-futebol dept.
The Brazilian government have decided in a 2-year trial to test genetically modified variant of the male mosquito Aedes aegypti that's common in the northeastern Brazil to combat the spread of dengue fever. Dengue is endemic in three of the host cities for this summer's World Cup. "We need to provide the government alternatives because the system we are using now in Brazil doesn't work," says Aldo Malavasi, president of Moscamed, the Brazilian company that's running the trial from a lab just outside of Jacobina.
The mosquitoes in the lab have their genes modified in the lab such that their offspring dies. Only the female mosquitoes bite, so only male mosquitoes are released which mate with wild females and produce offspring that die before they can reproduce. The technique is developed by the British company Oxitec with roots in Syngenta and GeneWatch points out that Oxitec are not totally transparent about the potential risks (like spontaneous DNA alterations).