Reengineered mosquitoes released in Florida pilot program

S. W. Tan,  The Washington Times,  2021.

Genetically engineered mosquitoes have been released in the U.S. for the first time in the Florida Keys, with hopes of quelling wild, disease-carrying mosquito populations in the region. British-based biotech firm Oxitec genetically engineered Aedes aegypti non-biting male mosquitoes to carry a lethal gene that gets passed onto their offspring when they mate with wild biting female mosquitoes. The offspring are unable to survive, hence controlling the population of disease-carrying species, according to the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD), one of the entities that approved the firm’s project. Release boxes containing the genetically engineered male mosquitoes were placed in six locations last week — two on Cudjoe Key, one on Ramrod Key and three on Vaca Key — with thousands starting to emerge this month. Around 12,000 mosquitoes are expected to emerge each week for about 12 weeks.


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