Millions of genetically modified mosquitos will be released in this experiment.
According to reports the dengue virus, chikungunya and yellow fever could be posing a big threat to American in the coming years. Climate change is cited as the main cause for a future rise in tropical diseases in many parts of the country where they didn’t exist before.
In a bid to prevent a spread of the dengue virus, chikungunya and other diseases in the future the FDA has approved plans by the British research company Oxitec to release millions of genetically modified mosquitos in Florida Keys.
The Genetically Modified mosquitos are bred with other mosquitoes, and if the injected DNA has entered sperm or egg cells, then it will be passed on to their offspring.
The DNA which was injected contains the lethal gene, but it also contains a fluorescent gene which allows the genetically modified mosquitoes to be identified using a special microscope.
So Oxitec’s scientists can look at the offspring of the mosquitoes which were injected to identify those which contain the new DNA.
For many years, the neighborhoods of the Florida Keys have been sprayed with insecticides to ward off a host of bugs, including perhaps the mother of all pests, the mosquito.
Over time, however, Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that can spread the dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses has built up resistance to many of the insecticides used to kill them.
The GMO insects would be bred to include segments of DNA from E. coli bacteria and other organisms, in the hopes that any eventual wild offspring will die, reducing the overall population.
Needless to say, environmental activists and some scientists have raised many concerns over the program and its potential impact on humans.
One question is particular is what will happen to humans if bitten by a GMO Mosquito?