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Florida approved the release of 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes– that haven’t been tested by the EPA.
Want to know the worst part about the experiment? These genetically modified mosquitoes will be making an appearance in Harris County in 2021, according to Oxitec.
According to CNN, the experiment was approved by the Environment Protection Agency in May, and the project was designed to test if a genetically modified mosquito is a viable alternative to spraying insecticides to control the Aedes aegypti.
Aedes aegypti, is a mosquito species that carries Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, among other deadly diseases,” as reported by the Daily News.
The male species of genetically engineered mosquitos will be released in Harris County. Their duty is to mate with the wild female mosquitoes, who bite for blood to feed their eggs. The wild female mosquitoes will die after producing offspring, but this doesn’t fully solve the problem.
“Scientists have raised major concerns that GE mosquitoes could create hybrid wild mosquitoes which could worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and which may be more resistant to insecticides than the original wild mosquitoes,” the Center for Food Safety advocacy group said.
The experiment has received much backlash from conservationists and environmental groups for the lack of testing from the EPA.
Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety said in a statement, “Now the Monroe County Mosquito Control District has given the final permission needed. What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed.”
“The release of genetically engineered mosquitoes will needlessly put Floridians, the environment and endangered species at risk in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dana Perls, food and technology Program Manager at Friends of the Earth.
“With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment,” said Hanson.
There’s no guarantee that these “robo-squitos” are safe, and the 2020 has already been a challenging year. The last thing we need, is to find ourselves in the middle of a science fiction-turned-reality movie.