‘Gene hacking’ fall armyworm moths: Biotech company Oxitec behind Florida Keys gene drive mosquitoes approved for pest-release test run in Brazil

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Oxitec, the British biotech firm behind the genetically engineered mosquitoes that just took flight in the Florida Keys [recently], is now moving on to its next gene-hacked pest.

The company is partnering with pharmaceutical corporation Bayer on a genetically engineered version of the fall armyworm, a notorious crop-eating pest that’s ravaged farms in the US, China, India, Brazil, and multiple African nations in recent years, the news wire Zenger News reports.

Just like Oxitec’s mosquitoes, the idea is to release gene-hacked armyworms into the wild that can’t produce female offspring, ultimately driving down the pest population without spraying harmful chemicals.

Brazil’s regulatory agency CTNBio gave Oxitec and Bayer the approval they needed to launch a field test of the gene-hacked armyworm ­— technically a caterpillar — on commercial crops, so there may be genetically altered bugs crawling across corn farms in the area soon.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

“Our technology potentially reduces the need for additional pesticides in the long term,” Oxitec head of agricultural programs Neil Morrison said, according to Zenger. “Besides reducing populations of the pest, it also has the potential to slow the resistance development to insecticides and biotechnology enhanced crops.”

Read the original post

Related article:  Can we fine-tune drug doses with the help of artificial intelligence?
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Trending green and going great — Every state in the US seeing decreased cases of COVID

Infographic: Trending green and going great — Every state in the US seeing decreased cases of COVID

The U.S. averaged fewer than 40,000 new cases per day over the past week. That’s a 21% improvement over the ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists