A groundbreaking project led by biotechnology company Oxitec has revealed genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. This is the first time that genetically modified species have been released into the wild in the Americas.
Reasons: Fighting the Aedes aegypti mosquito species responsible for spreading mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika in the region. About 4 percent of the total mosquito population in Florida has AIDS – but it is responsible for almost all mosquito-borne diseases in humans. Current methods of species control such as spraying or fagging have failed due to the species being resistant to chemical pesticides, so alternative solutions were needed.
Andrea Leal, Executive Director Florida Keys Mosquito Control District said in a statement, “Our primary mission is to protect the Florida Keys from all mosquitoes, including the infectious Aedes aegypti. The Florida Key Mosquito Control District is committed to finding environmentally friendly and targeted equipment to protect our residents and preserve our wildlife.”
“With the full approval of the US EPA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as well as the support of the US Centers for Disease Control and an independent advisory board, we are now looking forward to seeing project progress in the coming months,” Leal added. Male modified mosquitoes released by Oxitec are genetically tweaked in such a way that they release a special protein called TTA. Once they mate with wild Aedes aegypti girls, the TTA protein is transmitted and kills the female offspring. By doing so, the spread of wild diseases in the region will suppress the population of AIDS AGPT and thus reduce the number of infectious diseases.
It is important to remember that genetically twisted mosquitoes do not bite and have already been successfully field-tested in other countries. These are not a threat to the environment or other insects such as bees and butterflies.
Oxitec has gained all the necessary regulatory approvals for genetically modified mosquitoes published in six strategic locations across the Florida Keys in the coming months. It is important to remember that genetically twisted mosquitoes do not bite and have already been successfully field-tested in other countries.
These are not a threat to the environment or other insects such as bees and butterflies. Oxitec has gained all the necessary regulatory approvals for genetically modified mosquitoes published in six strategic locations across the Florida Keys in the coming months. “We are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of Oxitec technology with such outstanding partners. The challenges posed by the disease rhyme mosquito are growing, not shrinking; this pilot project is a major step towards bringing Oxitec’s safe, self-limiting technology to the United States.
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