The mosquito-bite fight begins

F. Billingsley,  Click2Houston,  2021.

Anyone who thought February’s freeze would kill all the mosquitos is biting up the wrong leg. They are back and, seemingly so, with a vengeance (did surviving just make them stronger, one wonders?). In Florida this week, an interesting and controversial fight against the bite begins after more than a decade of getting there. The company Oxitec will be releasing 144,000 Genetically Modified Mosquitoes in the Florida Keys designed to fight the mosquito population. Did you ever take the antibiotic tetracycline? I took it to fight acne as a kid but it treats lots of other bacterial infections. Oxitec has engineered all their mosquitoes with a gene that makes only the females depend on tetracycline. Without it, the females die and it’s the females that bite. So all the eggs from the engineered mosquitoes will be shipped to Florida and when they hatch, the engineered female mosquitoes won’t have any tetracycline and they are toast.


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