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Modulation instability (MI) in passively mode-locked dissipative solitons lasers has been studied. The factors that affect MI, including the intensity of the nonlinear wave and the linear phase delay of the cavity, have been experimentally studied. It's found that MI induces sidebands in the spectrum of dissipative solitons. The sidebands can cause the pedestal on the pulse in time domain and thus limit the pulse duration. Additionally, a simple method to eliminate the sidebands is proposed and nearly pedestal free pulses are generated correspondingly. Finally, based on MI, a method to measure the cavity net dispersion is proposed and applied to two dissipative soliton lasers with different net dispersion. It's shown that the positions of the adjacent spectral sidebands can determine the intracavity net dispersion, and the measurement error is limited by the accuracy of the optical spectrum analyzer. This indicates it is a simple and precise method to measure the intracavity net dispersion.