Published: June 9, 2021

Category: GMO News

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) and Oxitec, a British biotech company, began the first-ever U.S. release of genetically engineered (GE) Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the end of April.

Despite scientific concerns and public outcry over the human health and environment risks, the field trial’s first phase will release up to 144,000 GE mosquitoes over a 12-week period. The full trial will release up to a billion GE mosquitoes over a two-year period in Monroe County, Florida. Community residents were not notified which cities or villages would be included until the Friday before the releases. Residents were not given advance warning about the exact date the releases were set to occur.

The project is meant to reduce the numbers of Aedes aegypti, only one of several mosquito species that can carry dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever. However, scientists have raised concerns that GE mosquitoes could create hybrid wild mosquitoes which could worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and could be more resistant to insecticides than the original wild mosquitoes. A 2019 field study by researchers from the Powell Lab at Yale University confirmed that the mosquito’s engineered genes had spread into wild populations in Brazil. 

Source: Friends of the Earth

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights June 2021