By B.N. Frank
Releasing these mosquitoes has been discussed for the last 5 years. It has been considered controversial from the start. Now it’s actually going to happen and comparing this to a “Jurassic Park experiment” doesn’t seem inappropriate.
Why Hundreds of Millions of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Will Soon Be Released in Florida
Hundreds of millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes will soon be released in Florida, in a first for the U.S.
On Tuesday, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) approved plans to release the insects, who do not bite, as part of a pilot project launching next year. Precisely when and where the trial will happen in Monroe County is yet to be determined, the FKMCD said, but an experimental use permit expires in 2022.
According to the non-profit Center for Food Safety public interest and environmental advocacy organization, which opposes the move, 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes will be set free.
Oxitec, a biotechnology company whose trademarked “Friendly” mosquitoes are at the center of the project, had previously been given regulatory approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Florida Department of Health, among other state agencies.
Why are the mosquitoes being released?
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a long history of approving bad products. Recently they’ve been warning about and recalling toxic, blinding, and deadly hand sanitizers (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The agency has also been blamed for significantly contributing to the Opioid Crisis. Only time will tell if these mosquitoes will also come back and bite them in the ass.
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