Florida will release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes

S. McGlaun,  Slash Gear,  2020.

Local officials in Florida have announced that they have approved 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to be released into the environment to reduce local populations of the bloodsucking creatures. The goal of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes is to help reduce the number of mosquitoes carrying diseases like dengue or the Zika virus. Approval to release the bugs came after environmental groups warned of unintended consequences.

The activists feared that the genetically modified mosquitoes could damage ecosystems and raise the potential of a hybrid insect being created that is insecticide-resistant. However, the company involved with the genetically modified mosquitoes says there will be no adverse risk to humans or the environment. Multiple government-backed studies have shown no risk to the environment, according to the company.

Officials intend to release the modified mosquitoes next year in the Florida Keys, months after federal regulators approved them. The company behind the bugs is from the US and is called Oxitec. The Environmental Protection Agency gave the company permission to release the bugs, genetically engineered, male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes known as OX5034.

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