State of Florida approves release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes

H. Crawford,  FIRSTCOAST NEWS,  2022.

The state of Florida has given the green light to Oxitec, a U-K biotechnology company, to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in Monroe County starting this Spring. It’s a controversial pilot program that began in the Florida Keys in 2021 to evaluate the effectiveness of Oxitec mosquitoes to control the invasive, disease-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito. According to an email obtained by First Coast News, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) approved extending the experimental use permit on Tuesday. The department says it does not and will not be making a formal announcement related to the issuance of any pesticide registration. “Yesterday, FDACS authorized the distribution and experimental use of OX5034 AEDES AEGYPTI (EPA EUP NO. 93617-EUP-2) in Florida,” an email from the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services read. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has been working with Oxitec on field trials. Since 2021, millions of genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been strategically released in Monroe County as part of the Oxitec Mosquito Project. In March, the EPA approved the release of 2.4 billion more in Monroe County and California over the next two years under an experimental use permit. Oxitec had to get approval from each state before proceeding. The mosquitoes are designed to kill biting females before they mature.

More related to this: