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the Organic Review: GM Exterminators Inserted into Intestines to Stop Malaria
by Ali Papademetriou
Those concerned with genetic modification or GMOs are probably familiar with genetically modified foods as well as genetically modified milk from China and children produced in New Jersey. A new project has been in full bloom over the last eight months, and it’s purpose regards terminating disease.
In November an assignment brought to light, targeted mosquito-spreading diseases through genetic modification. Scientists had set a genetically modified mosquito into the wild, which reached some of the insect’s population. Those new mosquitos cannot mate with a natural mosquito without their offspring dying before the time it is able to fly.
Currently, a new navigation to end spreading of Malaria has been developed by a group of researchers at Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, who composed a genetically modified construction of Pantoes agglomerans bacteria that commonly live inside intestines of mosquitos.
Malaria is spread through mosquitos and reaches over 500,000 people annually, and is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium falciparum. Mosquitos consume the parasite, including up to thousands of immature cells called oocyst spores, during sucking blood. While consuming, just a few of those spores are left inside of the innards after each full digestion.
As a result of the small amount that remain, those aforesaid researchers have made a discovery. Intestines house a vast amount of bacteria that break down nutrients in order to digest. Scientists modified that destructive bacterium to be able to break down the remaining plasmodium spores that carry malaria as well.
Unlike November’s Malaria occupation, the Johns Hopkins discovery does not genetically engineer actual mosquito, rather solely the innards of mosquitos. This, they believe can result in a greater chance of networking to other populations. In the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, scientists said, that the operation “may well be ‘universal’ as effectiveness does not appear to be influenced by mosquito species.”
Those mosquitos that contained genetically modified gut bacteria, alternative to the actual GM mosquitos, have been proven to conquer Plasmodium bacterium in both human and rodent populations by nearly 100%. The question that remains is if such genetic modifications can cause other negative affects to healthy functioning parts or other bacteria in the mosquitos or is spread to other animals or humans. Results after further studying could possibly lead to new circumstances.