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Another open air experiment on Americans 


Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes set to be released into the Florida Keys

MAIL ONLINE | NOVEMBER 7, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of  genetically modified mosquitoes are awaiting federal approval for release into  the Florida Keys as part of an experiment aimed at reducing the risk of dengue  fever.

Mosquito control  officials have requested the Food and Drug Administration’s sign off on the  experiment that would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Some residents of the  tourist town of Key West worry though on how much research has been done to  determine the risks of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes on the Keys’  fragile ecosystem.

Officials are targeting  the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes because they can spread dengue fever, a disease  health officials thought had been eradicated in the U.S. until 93 cases  originated in the Keys in 2009 and 2010.

The trial planned by  mosquito control officials and the British company Oxitec would release  non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a  birth defect that kill their progeny before reaching maturity.

The idea is that they  will mate with wild females and their children will die before reproducing.  After a few generations, Key West’s Aedes aegypti population would die off,  reducing the dengue fever risk without using pesticides and at relatively a low  cost, the proponents say. There is no vaccine for dengue fever.

‘The science of it, I  think, looks fine. It’s straight from setting up experiments and collecting  data,’ said Michael Doyle, pointing to research Oxitec has had published in  peer-reviewed scientific journals. He inherited the project when he took the  lead at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District in mid-2011.

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About the author: Luis Miranda

Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 19 years and almost every form of news media. He attended Montclair State University's School of Broadcasting and also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Luis speaks English, Spanish Portuguese and Italian.

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