Zero Hedge: Genetically modified mosquitoes have been released for the first time in the United States as part of an experiment to combat insect-borne diseases such as Dengue fever, yellow fever, and the Zika virus.
Over the next 12 weeks, fewer than 12,000 mosquitoes are expected to emerge each week, for approximately 12 weeks. Untreated comparison sites will be monitored with mosquito traps on Key Colony Beach, Little Torch Key, and Summerland Key. If successful, some 20 million additional genetically modified mosquitoes will be released later in the year.
“We really started looking at this about a decade ago, because we were in the middle of a dengue fever outbreak here in the Florida Keys,” FKMCD Executive Director Andrea Leal said during a video news conference. “So we’re just very excited to move forward with this partnership, working both with Oxitec and members of the community.”
The insects released by the biotechnology firm are all male, so they don’t bite. They’re expected to mate with the local biting female mosquitoes, and in doing so, they will pass on a lethal gene that will ensure their female offspring die before reaching maturity.
According to Quartz, areas including Malaysia, Brazil, the Cayman Islands, and Panama, where similar experiments have been carried out, have seen mosquito populations drop by as much as 90 percent.
The project has faced backlash from residents, who say their consent was not sought for the experiment. Read More