Sigma Xi Publications



American Scientist

Artificial Symbiosis: Opposition to GMOs spurs new bio-engineering techniques

Artificial endosymbioses hold promise for transferring their benefits to novel hosts. In mosquitoes, for example, a bacteria of the genus Wolbachia, which can live in the ovaries or testes of a variety of insects, are under exploration for their potential to cause population declines or to limit virus transmission in diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. In “The Prospects of Artificial Endosymbioses” (pages 36–43), authors Ryan Kerney, Zakiya Whatley, Sarah Rivera, and David Hewitt discuss the ways that endosymbioses might be engineered and used, as well as the challenges they pose. The authors also point out that, for better or worse, symbiotically modified organisms are often seen as more “natural” by the public and given less ethical scrutiny than genetically modified organisms that have similar uses and benefits. (Cover illustration by Michael Morgenstern.)

January–February 2017

Sigma Xi Publications