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750M GM mosquitoes to be released in Florida

Posted on Friday, 19 June, 2020 | Comment icon 8 comments

Is playing God with mosquito populations really a wise plan ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 JJ Harrison
A plan to release genetically modified mosquitoes has been condemned as a 'Jurassic Park experiment'.
The insects, which have been bred by British-based biotechnology company Oxitec, have been designed to help reduce the mosquito population in the state and in so doing, reduce the risk of spreading deadly diseases such as West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

The key to the experiment lies in having the mosquitoes carry a certain protein which, when passed down to female offspring, will prove lethal. Only female mosquitoes actually bite, so by selectively reducing their numbers, scientists hope that the spread of disease will be massively reduced too.

Both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida department of agriculture and consumer services have given the green light for scientists to proceed with the release of 750 million genetically modified insects in the Florida Keys, however conservation groups argue that the environmental impact of the scheme has not been properly assessed.

Describing the move as a "Jurassic Park experiment", opponents of the scheme now intend to sue the EPA and argue that it could do serious damage to other species in the state.
"What could possibly go wrong ?" asked Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety.

"We don't know, because they unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks."

Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, was also critical.

"People here in Florida do not consent to the genetically engineered mosquitoes or to being human experiments," he said.

Unless a successful legal challenge can be mounted however, it is likely that the trial will go ahead.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (8)

Tags: Mosquitoes

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by RoofGardener on 19 June, 2020, 10:26
This sounds VERY dangerous.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by the13bats on 19 June, 2020, 10:27
Jurassic park experiment? Try "Judas breed" mosquito style...oh goody 2020 wasnt FUBAR enough now this.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Myles on 19 June, 2020, 11:18
Since I despise mosquitoes, I support this.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog on 19 June, 2020, 12:38
Mosquitoes are a big part of the food web... it will alter it enough so that mosquitoes and other pests predators will diminish a lot and we will have a lot more problems next year. So they will need to release more and more and more, they will take the state has hostage and always asking for more money.
Comment icon #5 Posted by DirtyDocMartens on 19 June, 2020, 13:32
This could be the worst episode of Black Mirror ever.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Biggz on 19 June, 2020, 13:36
Bad idea...Don't mess with the natural food chain
Comment icon #7 Posted by DarkHunter on 19 June, 2020, 14:35
Before too many people start talking about unintended consequences of messing with genetics this has already been done a few times already. The article is from 2016 and mentions how the same company already released genetically modified mosquitoes in the Cayman islands, which saw a 96% population reduction, and a location in Brazil, that saw a 92% population reduction.   Whether this should be done or not is debatable but doing it has proven to be safe.
Comment icon #8 Posted by the13bats on 20 June, 2020, 20:33
Yeah, mosquitos are out of control here, decades back they released mosquito fish to help but they came right back,

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