Authorities approved the release of 750 million of these genetically modified insects in the state of Florida; this as a measure to eradicate diseases.
The main problem with the Aedes aegypti mosquito is in the transmission of diseases that can be extremely harmful to humans: chikungunya, dengue, Zika and yellow fever are just a few of them. As a measure to prevent them, the company Oxitec produced millions of Aedes aegypti male, known as OX5034.
Female mosquitoes are the only ones that bite humans, because they need our blood to produce eggs. In this way, genetically modified mosquitoes could reproduce with female mosquitoes and, due to the introduction of a protein into the DNA of male mosquitoes, all females born would die before they reach the age when they bite humans.
The aim of this plan, which has already been approved by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD), is to reduce the Aedes Aegypti mosquito population and therefore also reduce disease transmission.
However, environmental groups also warned of the potential dangers of an experiment of this magnitude and warned of potential damage to the ecosystem, along with the creation of hybrid insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. Others even came to compare it to, yes, Jurassic Park. Remember what happened in Michael Crichton’s story when scientists filled the park with genetically modified female dinosaurs? Life finds a way.
Still, Oxitec says there is no risk to humans or the environment with the massive release of mosquitoes