Monday, 26 January 2015

Millions of GMO mosquitoes could soon be released in Florida

January 26, 2015

Chuck Bednar for – Your Universe Online

A British biotech firm is planning a unique experiment designed to help combat a pair of painful viral diseases, but residents of the Florida Keys are not exactly welcoming their efforts.

In fact, according to UPI reports, more than 140,000 people living in that state have signed a petition attempting to prevent the organization, Oxitec, from moving forward with their research – which just happens to involve the release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes.

The media organization explains that the bloodsucking insects have been altered to produce offspring incapable of surviving to adulthood. Once released into the wild, they will seek out female mosquitoes, mate with them, and ultimately help reduce the insect’s population – helping to combat the potentially-lethal dengue fever and chikungunya fever in the process.

In theory, it may sound like an effective way to combat two painful and life-threatening viruses, but those living in the communities where the experiment is scheduled to take place are balking at the thought of being bitten by insects that have been genetically modified in a laboratory.

Oxitec has to get approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can start their experiments, and residents in Florida have turned to an online petition to voice their displeasure with the proposed release of the mosquitoes. In the petition, they decry the “mutant bugs” and noted that genetically-modified crop experiments have gone wrong in the past.

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