Tracking Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
This activity challenges students to provide their questions and ideas for experiments they could conduct to investigate the impact of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild. It accompanies the video Genetically Modified Mosquitoes.
The video describes how scientists at the company Oxitec produced a line of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes that, when released into the wild, would reduce local mosquito populations.
After watching the videos, students read about the approaches that scientists at Oxitec have used to conduct such experiments. They then use math, descriptive statistics, and line and bar graphs to analyze data from areas in which the GM mosquitoes were released, compared to control areas. As an option, students may also use spreadsheets to analyze and graph the data.
Student Learning Targets
- Describe an experimental design for measuring the impact that releasing GM mosquitoes has on wild mosquitoes; compare this design to one used by scientists.
- Use data to calculate several population statistics.
- Create and analyze graphs to identify patterns.
- Use evidence to form and support claims and conclusions.
Aedes aegypti, average density, genetically modified organism (GMO), mating fraction, ovitrap
Carvalho, Danilo O., Andrew R. McKemey, Luiza Garziera, Renaud Lacroix, Christl A. Donnelly, Luke Alphey, Aldo Malavasi, and Margareth L. Capurro. “Suppression of a Field Population of Aedes aegypti in Brazil by Sustained Release of Transgenic Male Mosquitoes.” Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases 9, 7 (2015): e0003864. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003864.
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-2; SEP1, SEP3, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
IST-1.P, SYI-1.G, SYI-1.H, ENE-4.B; SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Learning Objectives & Practices: EIN-3.D, SP1, SP4, SP5, SP6, SP7
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.A-REI.3, Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-IC.1, Math.S-IC.3, Math.S-IC.4; MP1, MP2, MP3
Vision and Change (2009)
CC5; DP1, DP2, DP6