Google to create GM mosquitos to fight diseases

New reports claim parent company Alphabet is attempting to fight malaria and other diseases transmitted via insects

Google to create GM mosquitos to fight diseases

World Bulletin / News Desk

Google is working on a project to fight deadly diseases around the world with genetically modified mosquitoes, according to a report today from technology outlet Re/Code, citing Harvard University geneticist George Church.

On Wednesday, technology news website The Information revealed that Google executives had expressed interest internally about developing a program to create genetically modified mosquitoes that would destroy natural populations of the insect that carry illnesses like malaria and dengue fever.

While the report noted that no scientists were known to be attached to the program, Re/Code received confirmation from Church that he had discussed with Google CEO Larry Page about the former’s gene-editing research.

Earlier this week, Google announced that the Silicon Valley giant would do a massive restructuring, a move that took the industry by surprise.

A new company, Alphabet, will be led by Page and be an umbrella corporation that includes Google’s search and web businesses as well as other diverse divisions in fields including healthcare and automobiles.

The mosquito project would most likely be the domain of Alphabet’s Life Science division.

Church has worked on a groundbreaking project that makes editing genes not only just possible, but precise and cheap.

To stop mosquitoes from spreading disease with this technology, genetically modified mosquitos would be released into a wild population.

The genes could be modified in such a way that a mosquito would be unable to carry the malaria parasite, for example. Over time, the edited genes could spread throughout the entire group of insects. Genes can also be edited so that mosquito larvae cannot survive into adulthood, a change that could kill whole populations of the hated creatures.

Roughly 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk of malaria, according to the World Health Organization, and the disease killed an estimated 500,000 in 2013 -- mostly in developing countries. The institution believes 390 million people suffer from dengue fever every year.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Ağustos 2015, 09:44
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