Kerry Sheridan via Phys.org:
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A British company’s plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue fever and other diseases has sparked an outcry from fearful residents.
As of Friday, more than 145,000 people had signed a petition at change.org urging regulators to “say no” to allowing the tourist-friendly fishing and diving haven to become “a testing ground for these mutant bugs.”
The company, Oxitec, said it wants to try the technique there in order to reduce the non-native Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in south Florida and beyond.
“They are more than just a nuisance as they can spread serious diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya,” Oxitec said on its website.
The process involves inserting a gene into lab-grown, male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The added DNA makes it impossible for their offspring to survive.
Since the males do not bite—only the females do—the lab-grown males would be released to mate with wild females.