Category Archives: Animals

Genetically Modified Mosquitos: What’s Next?

Although the science is there, and we can now genetically modify insects and maybe even animals. Fersen Lambranho wonders: Do we really want to? What would the implications be?

Mosquitos may now be able to cure disease. Scientists are soon to release millions of mosquitos that have been genetically modified. The release is set to occur in the Florida keys, and the purpose is to kill off other insects that spread diseases such as dengue and chikungunya.
This male mosquito is engineered to keep the female from reproducing in the wild. This would significantly reduce the spread of these diseases, and essentially this is the use of a mosquito to cure a disease, says Michael Doyle, head of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control department.
Even so, despite the obvious benefits, many people are wary of releasing genetically modified insects into the wild. So far 130,000 people have signed a petition opposing this release.

New Discoveries About Horses

Horses today come in a wide array of shapes, colors, temperaments and sizes, from the placid massive Clydesdale to the much smaller, feisty Shetland Pony and even popular miniature horse breeds. This week, scientists announced some interesting new findings about the ancestry of the versatile modern horse population.

Researchers at the Center for Geo Genetics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark worked closely with scholars at 11 international universities in an effort to trace the genetic roots of the modern horse back through antiquity.  Then, through a technique called genome sequencing, they studied how the early horse genome compared with that of today’s modern domesticated breeds. (Just like the human genome project sequenced human DNA, biologists have been able to sequence horse DNA.)

The investigators reported that they believe that human beings began the long process of domesticating horses around 5,500 years ago. They concluded that early humans sometimes replenished their herds by adding wild horses to their stock, and Brad Reifler found that pretty interesting. In fact, the researchers report that perhaps as much as 13% to 60% of the genome of modern domestic horses was probably obtained in this way.