The Ministry of Health, located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, has temporarily placed on hold the release of genetically modified mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) intended to reduce the transmission of the Dengue virus (which is transmitted through infected mosquitoes). Public outcry over an initial release of 6000 in a relatively unpopulated area halted the planned release in a populated area. These modified mosquitoes are male , and upon mating, the resulting offspring have dramatically shorter lives. As female mosquitoes mate only once, the thought is that this should reduce the mosquito population, and thereby, the spread of the Dengue virus. The National Biosafety Board approved the initial release by the Institute of Medical Research. No published data exists on the affects of the study. The urban release proposal is being reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and then will require approval from the cabinet.
A follow-up blog can be found here.