US Says Yes To Testing Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

According to the Daily Mail, regulators in the US have given tentative permission to field test GMO mosquitoes designed to help limit the spread of Zika virus and other infectious diseases. Deja Vu. Haven’t we been here before? Only last time it was Brazil releasing GMO mosquitos…when will we learn?

In a document published on its website, The FDA claims that male mosquitoes, called “OX513A”, are “…unlikely to present risks to humans, animals or the environment.” Sure, I totally believe them. Thankfully, until the FDA gets feedback from the public(and stakeholders, naturally- it’s ALWAYS about money)they won’t fully proceed and that process could take months.

From the Daily Mail article:

“The genetically modified “Aedes aegypti” mosquito by British company Oxitec carries a gene that significantly shortens its life, while offspring die before reaching adulthood. The aim is to eliminate wild mosquito populations that spread infectious diseases such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and West Nile.

The FDA’s decision was based heavily on an environmental impact assessment submitted by Oxitec, whose parent company is American biotech firm Intrexon.”

It seems the FDA isn’t worried about the mosquitos because the ones being released are: designed to die young and will be mostly male(only females bite and feed on blood). They also feel that any potential risk is negligible…but let me direct you back to the previous sentence: mostly male. Nature always finds a way.

While scientists have yet to confirm that Zika causes microcephaly(a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and deformed brains)officials have warned pregnant women not to travel to areas affected by Zika. Currently, local, mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus has only been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and America Samoa.

We will continue to monitor this story and keep you up to date.

Source: Daily Mail