UK biotech firm’s 750 mn GM mosquitoes will mate with females off Florida, sow a deadly gene

S. Ramesh,  The Print,  2021.

Oxitec, a UK-based biotechnology company, plans to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys islands off the US this month as part of a trial to curb mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and the one caused by the Zika virus. This is the latest genetic engineering experiment targeting mosquitoes that is aimed at tackling diseases that continue to kill thousands every year — an approach that has critics as well as backers. Only females of mosquitoes bite, while males feed on all nectar. The mosquitoes Oxitec plans to release will all be male, carrying a protein that will kill all their female offspring. The exact locations where the mosquitoes will be released have not been made public. The objective over time is to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads both the above-mentioned diseases as well as chikungunya and yellow fever. Mosquito populations in Florida are believed to have grown resistant to a common group of insecticides, prompting worries.

More related to this:

The good mosquito versus the bad

Florida gives approval to the plan of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes.

Florida is releasing 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the world. Here’s why

Florida says ‘this is fine’ to release of genetically modified mosquitoes