No need to fear GM mosquitoes, Mother Jones attests

| | August 24, 2016
zika florida
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Humans have made plenty of such blunders trying to control pests. Hawaii’s mongoose infestation, Australia’s poisonous cane toads, and Canada’s thistle-eating weevils are just a few examples of “biocontrol” gone awry. The difference with the Oxitec mosquitoes is that, unlike the introduced species of the past, they are engineered to disappear quickly. It’s actually a great business model, because the mosquito control boards will have to keep purchasing from Oxitec to keep local mosquito populations suppressed. But it also makes it easier to deal with unintended consequences—which the FDA deems unlikely in any case.

What if I don’t want to be a guinea pig? You won’t be, really. Oxitec has already released modified mosquitoes in several countries, including Malaysia, Brazil, and Panama—and more than 3 million altered skeeters lived out their short lives in the Cayman Islands in 2009 during the company’s first field trial. The proposed trial in the Keys isn’t intended to test the mosquitoes’ safety or environmental impacts—Oxitec has spent 14 years on such studies already.

“This technology has potential to save people’s lives,” [mosquito neurogeneticist Matthew] DeGennaro says. “I would happily have [these mosquitoes] where I live.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: This Florida Community May Unleash Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Zika and Dengue

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