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As. Pac. J. Mol. Biol. & Biotech., June 2010 Vol. 18, 251-273

Towards a quantitative assessment of public attitudes to transgenic mosquitoes: Questions based on a qualitative survey in Mali

John M. Marshall1*, Mahamoudou B. Touré2, Mohamed M. Traore2, and Charles E. Taylor 3,4

1Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA;
2Malaria Research and Training Center, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali;
3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA;
4Center for Society and Genetics, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

*Author for Correspondence.
Division of Biology, Mail Code 156-29,
California Institute of Technology,
Pasadena, California 91125, USA,
Email address: johnmm@caltech.edu.

Abstract.
Genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes have been proposed as part of an integrated strategy for the control of dengue fever, chikungunya and malaria. Public consultation is essential prior to field trials. Despite this, very little data is available on perspectives to GM mosquitoes in disease endemic countries (DECs). We conducted a qualitative survey of perspectives to GM mosquitoes for malaria control in Mali, West Africa between the months of October 2008 and June 2009. The results of this survey suggest that mosquitoes are seen as one of several causes of malaria, people possess a strong practical knowledge of heredity through selective breeding, and there is a general desire to see evidence that GM mosquitoes can reduce malaria prevalence without negative consequences before approving a release. This suggests a series of themes that can be investigated with a quantitative survey capable of representing a larger population. We propose a series of closed questions designed to measure the attitudes of people in Mali to GM mosquitoes for malaria control. Furthermore, we discuss how these questions may be adapted to measure attitudes in other DECs, for other diseases, and for other types of GM mosquitoes. Ultimately, any quantitative study should be preceded by qualitative interviews, careful design and extensive pilot work. We detail each of these steps as required for a quantitative assessment of public attitudes to GM mosquitoes.

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