Genetically modified fruit flies will be deploy to control insect pests

Category: Agriculture, Health, Research and Developments 116 1

After years of struggle, Genetically Modified (GM) corn popularly known as BT corn is now approved and legally distributed in the country. Not only for corn but also to other crops we may not know were eating are GM crops.

Genetically modified crops are well received in some countries, but genetically modified insects would be a different story, said experts when news came out about the field release of Genetically Modified Fruit Flies in Spain to control the population of Olive flies, damaging the Europe’s most lucrative agriculture product – Olive oil.

Olive fly infestation can make table olives unsellable and degrades the quality of olive oil. The bugs are increasingly resistant to pesticides.

Fruit_FliesThe British company Oxitec has asked for permission to release in Spain its genetically engineered bugs. If approved, it would be the first outdoor trial of a GM insect in the Europe.

The genetically modified fruit flies are males that, when they mate with the naturally occurring females, will pass on a gene that causes females to die as larva. Male offspring will survive and go on to pass the same deadly flaw on to the next generation of female flies. In this way, the company says, the population of the crop-ruining pests will be slashed.

In 2011, the Philippines through the Department of Science and Technology in its effort to find solution to lower dengue cases in the country, OXITEC also proposed the used of genetically modified male mosquito (GMM) to control the population of dengue carrying female mosquitoes. The viability of the proposal is still being validated and assess by Filipino experts.

Other interesting topics on genetic modification technology:
  1. Can GM mosquitoes prevent disease in the US?
  2. Experts develop GM mosquito vs malaria
  3. DOST explores GM mosquito applications against dengue

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