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"This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease," said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment.
Dengue and chikungunya are growing threats in the U.S., but some people are more frightened at the thought of being bitten by a genetically modified organism. More than 130,000 signed a Change.org petition against the experiment.
Even potential boosters say those responsible must do more to show that benefits outweigh the risks.
originally posted by: lostbook
Dengue and chikungunya are growing threats in the U.S., but some people are more frightened at the thought of being bitten by a genetically modified organism.
Company spokeswoman Chris Creese said the test will be similar in size to Oxitec's 2012 experiment in the Cayman Islands, where 3.3 million modified mosquitoes were released over six months, suppressing 96 percent of the targeted bugs. Oxitec says a later test in Brazil also was successful, and both countries now want larger-scale projects.
... Creese says Oxitec has now released 70 million of its mosquitoes in several countries and received no reports of human impacts caused by bites or from the synthetic DNA, despite regulatory oversight that encourages people to report any problems. "We are confident of the safety of our mosquito, as there's no mechanism for any adverse effect on human health. The proteins are non-toxic and non-allergenic," she said.
They patented a method of breeding Aedes aegypti with fragments of proteins from the herpes simplex virus and E. coli bacteria as well as genes from coral and cabbage. This synthetic DNA has been used in thousands of experiments without harming lab animals, but it is fatal to the bugs, killing mosquito larvae before they can fly or bite.
Life Cycle of Aedes aegypti
Aedes aegypti is a so-called holometabolous insect. This means that the insects goes through a complete metamorphosis with an egg, larvae, pupae, and adult stage. The adult life span can range from two weeks to a month depending on environmental conditions. The life cycle of Aedes aegypti can be completed within one-and-a-half to three weeks.