Ethical, legal and social issues of genetically modified disease vectors in public health
Social, Economic and Behavioural Research. Special Topics No.1
By Darryl Macer Ph.D.
Over the past seven years, TDR lead a number of efforts to develop tools necessary for producing genetically modified insect vectors so that they are no longer able to transmit pathogens. A major focus, under its Basic and Strategic research area (STR), has been to develop a genetically-modified mosquito that cannot transmit malaria. The concurrent publication of the malaria and mosquito genomes in 2002 brought this goal one big step closer. However, before any genetically modified organism can be released, important environmental and human health concerns must be assessed. This monograph on the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) involved, prepared under the auspices of TDR’s Steering Committee on Social, Economic and Behavioural (SEB) research, helps to prepare the ground for this. The monograph introduces issues that are relevant not only to TDR but to anyone planning to utilize genetically-modified organisms in the environment for public health purposes.