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Using the current concern over the spread of the Zika virus as a starting point, this informative video provides a balanced discussion of the promise and pitfalls of biotechnology in controlling insect-borne diseases. In addition to Zika, the program reveals mosquitoes to be the vector of a number of other important diseases effecting millions of people around the world and it also explains how genetic manipulation is offering health officials an effective control. Students are made aware of the success of CRISPR and other powerful gene-splicing techniques in eradicating mosquitoes while being asked to consider the bioethical concerns of intentionally removing an entire population from an ecosystem.
This program provides a current and relevant context for students to reflect on concepts related to population genetics, genetic engineering, disease transmission and ecosystem dynamics.
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