NPR was on site when the first genetically modified mosquitoes were released in a laboratory in Italy.
Rob Stein, Pierre Kattar and Ben de la Cruz.
YouTube controversial experiment in Italy. The experiment is designed to test genetically modified mosquitoes, which the researchers hope will be a powerful new weapon to fight malaria, which remains one of the world's biggest scourges.
The mosquitoes are a completely new breed of genetically modified organisms. The insects, members of the species that transmit malaria, have been engineered using the powerful gene editing technology CRISPR to carry a DNA sequence known as the "Gentrieb" and the genetic modification rapidly across whole populations of the genome Gentriebe should drive species.
The mutation is designed to sterilize populations of mosquito-bearing mosquitoes in the wild and cause them to crash. And hopefully that would help stop the spread of the malaria parasite. However, the experiment is controversial, as it is feared that the genetically modified insects could have unintended environmental consequences if they were ever released in the wild.
The mosquitoes will first be tested in a specially designed high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy. The lab is designed to mimic the natural environment of sub-Saharan Africa – and ensure that none of the insects escape.