Florida releasing genetically modified mosquitoes to prevent diseases like Zika

N. Lanese,  LiveScience,  2020.

Hundreds of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes will soon be released in the Florida Keys island chain to wipe out local populations of disease-carrying mosquitoes, according to news reports.

The big questions are, will it work and will it have unintended effects on the environment?

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District currently budgets about $1 million a year to combat the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can carry diseases like Zika virus and dengue fever and pass them on to humans, according to Gizmodo. In comparison to costly mosquito control tactics, such as aerial spraying of insecticides, the plan to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to mate with local A. aegypti may be less expensive and more effective, according to the board.

“The science is there. This is something Monroe County needs,” mosquito board member Jill Cranny-Gage told The Associated Press. “We’re trying everything in our power, and we’re running out of options.” The board voted 4-1 in favor of the plan and will begin releasing the mosquitoes sometime next year.

But not everyone agrees that the science is up to snuff.

More related to this:

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