Florida is about to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes - here's why
The idea of releasing a swarm of genetically modified mosquitoes may sound like the plot of the latest science fiction blockbuster, but it’s about to become a reality in Florida.
Local officials have revealed plans to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes, in the hopes of reducing the number of mosquitoes carrying diseases like Zika and dengue.
The male genetically engineered mosquitoes, known as OX5034, will be released in the Florida Keys over a two year period, starting in 2021.
Only female mosquitoes bite humans, because they need blood to produce eggs. This means that only female mosquitoes are able to spread dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.(Image: Getty Images)
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However, not everyone is so convinced, with one group even comparing it to a ‘Jurassic Park experiment.’(Image: OJO Images RF)
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Meanwhile, a petition against the project on change.org has been signed by nearly 240,000 people.
Genetically-modified mosquitoes have previously been tested in the Brazilian city of Indaiatuba.
Oxitec explained: “Recent similar demonstration projects in the Brazilian city of Indaiatuba found that Oxitec’s mosquito suppressed disease-carrying Aedes aegypti by up to 95% in urban, dengue-prone environments following just 13 weeks of treatment, as compared to untreated control sites in the same city.”