Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Receive A Key Go-Ahead In Florida
Battling dengue fever and Zika virus, the state could host the first-ever U.S. field trial
Genetically modified mosquitos may soon be coming to Florida, and everyone on board wants us to stay totally chill about it.
On November 19, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District made its decision, by a 3 to 2 vote, to formally approve a field trial release of genetically-modified mosquitos, which were developed by the company Oxitec. The company’s modified mosquitoes have already been tested in Brazil and the Panama Islands, with largely encouraging results, but any similar trials in Florida would be the first in the United States.
The mosquitos, Aedes aegypti, could be used in the fight against dengue fever as well as the Zika virus. Florida has seen several scattered outbreaks of dengue in recent years, with its latest occurring in 2010.
Oxitec’s mosquitoes have been genetically modified to express a gene that prevents them from reaching maturity. So when they’re released and start breeding with wild populations of mosquitoes, the offspring die before adulthood. Soon enough, it’s hoped, the entire local mosquito population winds up carrying the suppression gene, leading to large reductions in their overall numbers.
“Our solution has repeatedly shown it has significant potential to play a meaningful role in controlling invasive populations of Aedes aegypti,” said Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry in a statement released Monday…….More Here