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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Be Released In Florida ‘Jurassic Park Experiment’

by : Emily Brown on : 18 Jun 2020 18:02
Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Be Released In Florida 'Jurassic Park Experiment'Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Be Released In Florida 'Jurassic Park Experiment'PA Images

Remember Jurassic Park, the film where scientists attempted to bring back dinosaurs for a theme park until everything went to sh*t and a T-Rex escaped?

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Well good news, they’re attempting to do a similar thing in real life.

Thankfully, scientists aren’t trying their hand with dinosaurs this time, but that’s not to say we won’t suffer as a result of the experiment, because this one involves genetically modified mosquitoes.

That’s right, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has given the green light to a plan that will see the release of 750 million of the bugs, which are annoying at their best and fatal at their worst, in the Florida Keys.

MosquitoMosquitoPixabay
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Residents in the area have long been plagued by the blood-sucking bugs, with officials attempting to spray mosquito habitats with insecticides to get rid of them.

Proponents of the trial have explained that only modified male mosquitoes will be released, and as males don’t bite people it’s thought there will be no danger to the public, The Guardian reports.

The modified mosquitoes will contain a protein that will lessen any female offspring’s chances of survival, and hopefully prevent them from biting people. In turn, it is hoped the mosquitoes will stop spreading diseases such as dengue fever and Zika.

Mosquito biting skinMosquito biting skinPixabay

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also approved the Florida plan, developed by the British biotechnology company Oxitec, as well as giving the go-ahead on another trial next year, set to take place in Harris County, Texas.

Despite receiving approval from authorities, the plan has been slammed by conservation groups, who have gone as far as to sue the EPA for allegedly failing to ascertain the environmental impact of the scheme. Earlier this week, protesters gathered outside the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District federal office to demand its board oppose the trial.

Scientists have also expressed concerns about the oversight of the trial, with Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, describing it as a ‘Jurassic Park experiment’.

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She commented:

What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because they unlawfully refused to seriously analyse environmental risks.

MosquitoMosquitoPixabay

Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, added:

People here in Florida do not consent to the genetically engineered mosquitoes or to being human experiments.

Unless conservationists are successful in putting the trial on hold, the mosquitoes will start to be released this summer. Let’s just hope this experiment ends better than John Hammond’s.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Florida, Florida Keys, Genetic Trial, Harris County, Jurassic Park, mosquitoes, Now, Texas

Credits

The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Plan to release genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida gets go-ahead