Genetically Engineered Mosquito Imminent Mass Release Ignores Science, Public Health and Environmental Risks

H. Bourque,  Friends of the Earth,  2022.

In defiance of science and public health concerns, today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the mass release of billions of experimental genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes into the United States’ most populous and agriculturally significant states. The biotechnology company Oxitec was granted an Experimental Use Permit for the release of a genetically engineered version of the species Aedes aegypti across Fresno, Tulare, San Bernadino and Stanislaus Counties in California and in Monroe County in Florida. This will be the biggest release of GE insects in the world. EPA’s approval came despite growing concerns raised by scientists, public health experts and environmental groups about potential impacts of the experimental releases to public health, the environment and endangered species. No publicly available data supports Oxitec’s claims that GE mosquitoes will reduce incidence of mosquito borne diseases. An independent peer-reviewed study from Yale University scientists revealed that over two years of continual releases of the GE mosquitoes at a test site in Brazil failed to reduce populations of Aedes aegypti. The Yale study also found that the GE mosquitoes bred with local Aedes aegypti, resulting in hybrid mosquitoes in the wild that may be more aggressive, more difficult to eradicate and may increase the spread of mosquito-borne disease.

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