Are GM insects a real alternative to spraying insecticides?

As the New Scientist article Flotilla of designer insects is new weapon in pest control explains, large numbers of genetically modified insects could be released in Spain in an attempt to control olive tree pests.

A similar trial was conducted seven years ago in the U.S. to test a technique for tackling cotton pests. The results reported safety and effectiveness, and did not report any unexpected problems.

The principle is simple: "send out an army of male flies equipped with genes that prevent any offspring, male or female, from reaching breeding age," and the olive pest population is finished.

Scientists who support this method believe it has the potential to provide a better and more precise tool to combat agricultural pests and insects that spread human diseases.  Opponents of genetic modification disagree.

Who knows what the long-term effects could be?

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This blog is maintained by reference librarians of the David Lubin Memorial Library, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Entries in this blog are for discussion purposes only. They express the views of their author(s) and not necessarily that of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The designations employed in this blog do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Links to other web sites are provided for the user's convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.
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