Genetically modified mosquito larvae to be released in Florida Keys

E. Helmore,  The Guardian,  2021.

The Florida Keys will this week see the release of genetically modified, non-biting male mosquito larvae as part of a controversial program designed to curb the spread of insect-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and yellow fever. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and British firm biotech Oxitec announced last week that 12,000 of the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito species are expected to emerge each week for twelve weeks from six locations: two on Cudjoe Key, one on Ramrod Key and three on Vaca Key. Eventually it is planned that hundreds of millions of the mosquitoes might be released. Oxitec’s non-biting male mosquitoes will mate with the local biting female mosquitoes and since the female offspring cannot themselves survive to reproduce, the population of Aedes aegypti is subsequently controlled. According to the CDC, the genetically modified mosquitoes carry two types of genes: a fluorescent marker gene that glows under a special red light, and a self-limiting gene that prevents female mosquito offspring from surviving to adulthood.

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