Professor Zimmer: Americans must consider fighting disease with genetically modified mosquitoes

In today’s USA Today, chemistry professor Marc Zimmer writes the time has come for Americans to consider fighting dangerous diseases, like dengue fever, with genetically modified mosquitoes.

Read ‘Dengue fever vs. glowing mosquitoes’

The mosquitoes, which are genetically modified to mate with wild mosquitoes and produce larvae that will not survive, are already being used to fight dengue fever in countries where the disease is more prevalent. But last month, the World Health Organization announced that dengue fever is the "fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease with an epidemic potential," and cases in Florida are already on the rise.

“The best way to control this disease, which is slowly making its way into the United States, is with genetically modified mosquitoes. But deciding whether this is the best course of action is no small task,” Zimmer writes.

“The stakes are huge, and Americans need to be ready to make informed decisions,” he adds.

Zimmer, the Tempel Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College, is an expert in computational chemistry and the author of “Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology.” He has previously published opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education and other news outlets.

February 22, 2013