Dengue fever. It causes pain, nausea, and can be deadly. Worst of all, there’s no known cure or vaccine. Which is why 6000 genetically modified mosquitoes are being deployed in Malaysia to kill of dengue at the root.
Dengue gets passed around by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, commonly found in Southeast Asia. The 6000 mosquitoes in question are all males, scientifically engineered to live shorter and, most importantly, be infertile. By driving down the mosquito population, scientists hope to curb Dengue fever if not eliminate it entirely.
All of which has lead to some ethical concerns among locals and outside observers. Can we really fuss with the gene pool of a species so brazenly? And while adding 6000 mosquitoes to the mix may help stem Dengue fever, it also, uh, adds a lot of mosquitoes to a place that’s already riddled with the pests. Still, I’d rather a quick bite from a harmless bug than a horrible life-threatening disease. [AFP Fast Company]