The first genetically modified mosquitoes released in the U.S. to buzz in the Florida Keys

K. Weintraub,  USA Today,  2021.

On Thursday morning, workers from a British company placed basketball-sized cardboard boxes into six yards in the Florida Keys. Then they added water. In a week or so, 12,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes will – one by one – begin buzzing out of each box, the first genetically modified mosquitoes to be released in the United States. Local officials argue the trial is necessary at a time when pesticides are increasingly ineffective against these dangerous pests. A 2016 vote on the project claimed a solid majority of support in most of the surrounding counties. “At the end of the day, our hope is to be able to control this mosquito more efficiently and keep our population below any sort of disease transmission threshold,” said Andrea Leal, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito District. “Our toolbox for Aedes aegypti control is shrinking, unfortunately, and that’s making us think outside of the box.”

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