Identification and characterization of field sites for genetic control of disease vectors


  • B.G.J. Knols
  • H. Bossin


Genetic control of disease vectors consists of a large variety of approaches. Each of these bring along an often-substantial number of prerequisites in order to stand a chance of being successful. Of the large number of trials documented, only few have taken the scale and scope of operation to sustain long-term area-wide benefits. Broadly speaking, two categories of issues will be faced by any genetic control programme when moving from the laboratory to the field: those that relate to biological and/or environmental factors and those that relate to stakeholder power. The ongoing debate on genetically engineered crops has heightened the interest of many (often antagonistic) stakeholders in the possible impact that biotechnological advances may have on society and the environment, which necessitates a much larger impetus towards stakeholder management. Identification of suitable field sites for anticipated genetic-control trials therefore requires a stepwise approach, which is outlined in this chapter. A coordinating entity, consisting of stakeholders from disease-endemic countries (DECs) and (inter)national experts, is urgently needed to provide support to governments in their decision-making process regarding geneticcontrol trials. Such entity should also serve a mediating function between researchers, end-users and influential stakeholders (e.g. press) in order to further the potential of biotechnological developments. Failure to steer this process efficiently may result in substantial opposition and stalling of progress, similar to hindrances experienced with the introduction of transgenic crops in the European Union