Release 750 Million Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Into the Wild, They Said

C. Delbert,  Popular Mechanics,  2020.

Corporate scientists have received final approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release hundreds of millions of genetically altered mosquitoes into the Florida Keys. The goal? To begin reining in the mosquito population, which is only expected to increase as climate change continues to warm and flood the low-lying, tropical Keys. But some environmental groups object strongly to the move.

Here’s how the plan is designed to work: Local officials want to use these neobugs as an alternative to insecticides. The genetic modification, which is a common one being explored by scientists around the world, involves making female larvae—responsible for laying eggs—die off very young before they can reproduce.

Male mosquitoes spread the gene, and in practice, this means any males spend their, uh, best years passing around a population-reducing time bomb. By generations, the population continues to dwindle.


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