While you are hunting mosquitoes with the latest issue of The New York Times, Florida officials are fighting these insects much more seriously. Thousands of modified male mosquitoes will be released into the air of the state to harm seriously the entire population.
The point is to reduce the population of a particular mosquito species in Florida after a while. The matter is that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which spread deadly diseases among people, such as Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and yellow fever live in this state.
The essence: adult modified mosquitoes are released from the laboratory into the wild, where they mate with wild mosquitoes. Their offspring inherit a specially damaged gene, which lacks an auxiliary antibiotic – tetracycline. Without it, the future generation of mosquitoes will no longer be able to survive in a normal environment. Over time, this technique can dramatically reduce the number of mosquitoes.
Genetically modified mosquitoes were invented by the British company Oxitec. They have been working on this project since 2012 – it was then that Florida authorities turned to scientists for help, as insecticides expenses increased to a million dollars a year.
This plan, as expected, has skeptics and opponents. For example, there is already a petition on Change.org in which concerned Americans point to a lack of research on the topic. 240 thousand Americans believe that by this Florida authorities open the «Pandora’s box» — no one can predict what mutant mosquitoes will actually do.
Oxitec Scientist Kevin Gorman:
«Our company has already successfully implemented such projects in the Cayman Islands and Brazil. Our new weapon is OX5034, and it is nothing more than a new genetically modified mosquito»