The genetic biocontrol known as the Sterile Insect Technique, based on irradiation, has been used safely across the globe for decades to control agricultural pests. For example, in Central America sterile New World Screwworm flies are released to prevent the northern migration of these important livestock pests from South America into Mexico, Central America, and the Southern US. Mass reared radiation-sterilized male Mediterranean Fruit Flies are or have been used to control this major pest of citrus and other fruits in countries including Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Spain, South Africa, and the USA.
Genetic engineering also is being applied to control of agricultural pests such as Mediterranean Fruit Fly and Fall Armyworm. Oxitec’s FriendlyTM technology for Fall Armyworm has been approved by the Brazilian biosafety agency.
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