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Mosquito-borne diseases kill millions of people annually and cause suffering for many more. In 2012, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria, leading to some 627,000 deaths.It takes only one bite from a disease-carrying mosquito to transmit a debilitating or deadly infection – and mosquitoes breed and multiply with astonishing speed.Today, the dominant method for reducing insect populations – the so-called "sterile insect technique" – relies on radiation to sterilize males, which are then released into infested areas to mate.Using molecular genetic-engineering techniques, British company Oxitec has created a new way to control the mosquito species that transmits dengue fever.If the males are released over a period of several months, this would, in theory, result in a marked reduction in the mosquito population.Only with pragmatic, fact-based regulation can the world realize genetic engineering's full disease-fighting potential.
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