GMO (genetically modified organisms) Mosquitoes that Fight the Zika Outbreak By: Sharliz Castillo #4 and Janessa Cayabyab #5

Our topic is GMO mosquitoes that fight the Zika outbreak. The plan of the company is to inject mosquito eggs into diseased people and then release the genetically modified males from that batch of eggs so they can mate with wild females. Since male mosquitoes don’t bite, this can guarantee that they won’t help spread the disease. The offspring of the genetically modified males and wild females cannot survive to adulthood because of the inherited altered DNA. If all goes as planned, the mosquito population should shrink. There’s already good evidence that shows that this approach can work. The Zika virus is very serious and has an impact on many people. Zika can spread through insect or animal bites that carry around diseases and by having unprotected sex. It can spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, causing he/she to have birth defects. When a pregnant woman gives birth with Zika, the baby can have microcephaly. Microcephaly is when a baby has a smaller head and smaller brain that’s underdeveloped (Their brain is how they got a small head). Zika was officially identified in humans in 1952. The first large outbreak of Zika was in 2007 on the Island of Yap. The Zika outbreak started in Brazil. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. Today, 24 of 26 states in Brazil are grappling with the rapid spread of the virus. Zika has a big impact on people especially kids. Children with microcephaly may not have the ability to achieve their full thinking potential because they are usually born with impaired thinking and physical development.The Zika virus is also a health and economic threat. The economic impact has been estimated at 3.5 billion dollars for the epidemic disease which is stated as one of the largest and most expensive infectious disease outbreaks in current history. Because of the virus, children will not be able to develop normally. To help these kids, they will need lifelong support, but it could drain the family because the medical cost to care for the children is about 10 to 20 million dollars for 2,000 children born. We predict that if genetically modified mosquitoes got more widespread it would really help people. The company that made them gave a good explanation on how they work. It stated they actually have used it and has been released in Brazil. It also said that it helped people in Brazil. We think that the genetically modified mosquitoes can help fight Zika and it should be released to help people all around the world.

this is a picture of a genetically modified mosquito
this is an example of a baby with microcephaly compared to a baby with a normal sized head

WORKS CITED (SOURCES)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/04/genetically-modified-mosquitoes-zika/479793/

https://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/

http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/timeline/en/

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