FKMCD Board Approves Oxitec Pilot

C. Huff,  FKMCD in the News,  2020.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District’s (FKMCD) five member board has APPROVED a proposal by Oxitec to utilize non-biting male, genetically modified mosquitoes as part of a trial to determine their effectiveness in controlling the wild population of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito which is responsible for spreading diseases such as dengue fever. FKMCD and Oxitec have both said that the pilot project will not take place until 2021. The FKMCD board’s four to one vote in FAVOR comes after Federal and State approvals of an ‘Experimental Use Permit’ issued earlier this summer by the Environmental Protection Agency and The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. FKMCD commissioner Brandon Pinder cast the dissenting vote. At the center of the project is a male Aedes aegypti mosquito that has been modified to only provide live male offspring when mating with a female in the wild. Female offspring do not survive. This is beneficial because male mosquitoes DO NOT BITE and the trait for no viable female births is passed down to a limited number of subsequent generations, thus helping to drive down the overall population. The exact time and location of the trial has yet to be determined, but the current ‘Experimental Use Permit’ granted to Oxitec dictates trials must be completed by 2022.

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