Expert Analysis:
Insects

March 11, 2016

FDA gives preliminary go-ahead for Florida release of genetically engineered mosquitoes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a notice that a field trial of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the Florida Keys would not harm humans or the environment. Continue reading

February 4, 2016

Combating Zika with genetically engineered mosquitoes: Hope or hype?

As the Zika outbreak continues in the Americas, methods of controlling the mosquitoes that spread the virus by using genetic engineering have gained attention. But how realistic is it for these new technologies to be deployed on a large scale? Continue reading

January 19, 2016

Brazilian city expands use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to combat Zika, dengue

A program to release genetically engineered mosquitoes as a way to control mosquito borne diseases has been expanded by the Brazilian city of Piracicaba and the British company Oxitec. The company produces engineered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which are thought to be the main carrier of the Zika virus which is sweeping through South and Central America. Continue reading

November 23, 2015

Gene drive used to create mosquitoes with potential to stop spread of malaria

Researchers have used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to create a ‘gene drive’ system that spread an anti-malarial gene through a population of the Anopheles Stephensi mosquito, a leading malaria vector in Asia, according to a study in PNAS. Continue reading

November 18, 2015

Bumble bees and apple trees: Experiment finds impact of neonicotinoid on pollination

A study in Nature reports the first evidence of a neonicotinoid pesticide directly impacting pollination by bees, according to the authors. Bumble bees exposed to the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam made fewer visits to apple trees and collected less pollen compared to controls. Continue reading

September 17, 2015

Parasitic wasps made Monarch butterflies ‘natural GMOs’ through horizontal gene transfer

Genomes of several species of butterflies and moths, including the Monarch butterfly, contain genes from parasitic wasps and viruses due to naturally occurring gene transfer taking place over millions of years, according to a study in PLoS Genetics. Continue reading

August 17, 2015

Monsanto is developing ‘genetic sprays’ using RNAi to combat pests and enhance crops

Agricultural biotechnology companies are developing sprays to control weeds and insect pests by temporarily altering their genetics through RNA interference. Companies like Monsanto see the RNAi sprays as an alternative to developing new genetically engineered crops. Continue reading

July 16, 2015

Genetically modified diamondback moths reduce pest population and slow resistance to Bt crops in greenhouse trials

A genetically modified version of the diamondback moth, which can devastate cruciferous vegetables, significantly reduced pest populations and decreased spread of resistance to the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacterial proteins engineered into transgenic broccoli to control pests.
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