Thursday, January 20, 2011

Neighbours’ support sought to stop GM mozzie field trials

Thursday January 20, 2011

THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) have sent memorandums to the health ministries of neighbouring countries to oppose the release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Bentong and Alor Gajah.

CAP and SAM president SM Mohamed Idris said Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia should have been consulted in the decision to push ahead with GM mosquito field trials that are aimed at stunting the growth of Aedes mosquitoes.

He said the memorandum was also sent to Malaysia’s Health Ministry along with other related ministries and departments.

“There are some unanswered questions about the impact of the proposed releases,” Mohamed Idris said, dubbing the modified insects as ‘terminator mosquitoes’ due to their genetically altered state.

He said this at a press conference at the CAP office yesterday.

He also urged the National Biosafety Board (NBB) to revoke its approval to the Institute for Medical Research for the field experiments.

Earlier this month, it was reported that field trials for GM mosquitoes releases in Bentong and Alor Gajah were delayed due to the rainy season last month.

The objective of the project is to allow normal Aedes-carrying female mosquitoes (only female mosquitos bite) to mate with the male GM mosquitoes that carry a conditional lethality trait, resulting in any offspring dying before they reach adulthood.

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