Uncle Sam’s Dangerous Game

X. Ping,  XINHUANET,  2021.

Since the very beginning, residents in Florida Keys doubted if the “self-limiting” gene of Genetically Modified (GM) mosquitoes brought and released there by Oxitec, a biotech firm, and approved by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD), was as powerful as the company described. Oxitec said that the male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carried a “self-limiting” gene that produces a fatal protein which can kill their female offspring. In this way, population of mosquitoes in FKMCD was expected to crash rapidly. But for many residents in Florida Keys, those GM mosquitoes were like a Trojan Horse: it was sent to their doorstep, without any notice in advance, but they did not know what could be hidden on the inside. In fact, this “horse” has already been sent to other places multiple times. Before 2021, when Oxitec started the GM mosquitoes experiment in Florida, the firm had already been testing their immature research in Brazil, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands for a decade. Yet in 2019, scientists from Yale University found out that Oxitec’s technology might actually strengthen offspring of mosquitoes rather than kill them. Residents in Florida Keys therefore rejected the program, pointing out that the firm had not been forthright in telling them the possible health consequences of the experiment. The Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, a local voluntary organization, launched a petition with over 200,000 signatures against the Oxitec project.

More related to this:

Florida Keys plans killer insect attack on disease-carrying mosquitoes

750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to be released across Florida Keys