will Tigers GM Mosquitoes be used in Florida?
Florida is studying the possibility of releasing three million genetically modified tiger mosquitoes over 6 months. This measure aims to fight against chikungunya, a disease transmitted by this insect, which causes high fever and severe pain. Indeed, the idea is to introduce males whose offspring is not sustainable in nature in order to reduce the number of insects. Oxitec (The company that launched this experiment) conducted several trials in Brazil and the Cayman Islands. The company ensures that these tests showed a reduction of more than 90% of the populations of the Aedes aegypti. On the basis of these results, the US Medicines Agency (FDA) could give discharge to the project. Oxitec could then begin to release these GM mosquitoes into the wild in the next few months, with several times a week.
Raising shields in Florida
Opponents of the “mutant mosquito” are concerned about the environment and their potential impact on humans and other animal species. They also question the fact that a group of independent experts did not consider the British firm’s research. They argue that there have been no cases of dengue in the Keys for years, which shows the effectiveness of current mosquito population control methods. While the Office of mosquito control in the archipelago of the Florida Keys has agreed to work with Oxitec who built a GM mosquito breeding laboratory, more than 145,000 people have now signed a petition urging the authorities object to the state become “a place of experimentation with these mutant insects”[source: (in french) moustique-tigre.info]