Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Risk Assessment of GM mosquito planned release is incomplete and lacks transparency, says GeneWatch UK

 The Risk Assessment (RA) report of the Malaysian Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) on the planned release of GM Aedes mosquitoes in Malaysia is incomplete and the RA process needs to be more transparent. These comments were made in a 13-page report by GeneWatch UK, a scientific organisation involved in genetic engineering and biosafety issues.

GeneWatch UK states that ‘We are concerned that the novelty of this application of GM technology has made regulators in several countries too dependent on advice provided by the company, which has a vested interest in speeding its products into the market place in order to generate financial returns for its investors’.
 
Malaysia’s field release of GM Aedes mosquitoes, purportedly developed by the IMR and the UK based biotech company Oxitec, will be one of the first such experiments in the world.
 

CAP and SAM deplore lack of transparency on release of GM mosquitoes

CAP and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are very shocked to learn from press reports today that GM Aedes mosquitoes were released on 21 Dec 2010 in Bentong, Pahang.  This despite statements in the press in January 2011 by senior Biosafety Department officials saying that the trials had been postponed due to bad weather.

GM mosquito release in Malaysia surprises opponents and scientists—again

Even scientists were surprised by the release of GM mosquitoes in Malaysia, reports sciencemag.org of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)*.

Medical entomologist Bart Knols of the University of Amsterdam worries that surprises such as the releases in Grand Cayman and Malaysia may erode public trust and provide anti-GM groups with ammunition.

Helen Wallace of the advocacy group GeneWatch UK says the lack of communication does little to instill confidence in Oxitec.

10 things you should know about GM mosquitoes

 
mosquitoesThe National Biosafety Board (NBB) has recently approved an application from the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) to release genetically modified (GM) male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. IMR wants to conduct field experiments in Bentong and Alor Gajah to see how far the males fly and how long they live for.

The aim of this GM technology is for the GM male mosquitoes to mate with wild female mosquitoes. They are genetically modified so that most of their offspring die before becoming adults. The hope is that this will reduce the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the dengue virus, and hence reduce incidences of dengue fever.