Biotechnology company Oxitec has released a genetically modified mosquito in the Florida Keys. It aims to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry wild diseases in the area.This is the first time a genetically modified mosquito has been released in the United States.
Oxitec previously released a modified version of it Aedes aegypti mosquito In Brazil, Cayman Islands, Panama and Malaysia, the company is local Aedes aegypti Population has declined by at least 90% in these areas. Live Science previously reported.. Aedes aegypti Can carry the following illnesses Zika, Dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, yellow fever, and altered mosquito release provide a way to control populations without the use of pesticides.
Oxitec’s modified mosquitoes are all male and Designed Deadly carry geneWhen a modified pest mates with a wild female mosquito, the lethal gene is passed on to offspring. This gene does not affect male survival, but it prevents female offspring from building essential proteins and kills them before they mature.
Modified mosquitoes and surviving male offspring cannot pass the disease on humans, as only female mosquitoes bite humans (male mosquitoes drink nectar exclusively).
Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes make up about 4% of mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, but they cause most of the mosquito-borne diseases that are transmitted to humans in the area. Nature reported.. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) board typically budgets $ 1 million annually to control pests and relies on costly measures such as spraying aerial pesticides. According to Gizmodo..
The Board concluded that releasing hundreds of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be a cheaper and more effective option. This is especially because mosquito populations become more resistant to pesticides over time.
According to Nature, FKMCD first approached Oxitec in 2010, and after a decade of regulatory assessment and regional backlash, both the Board and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ultimately key genetically modified mosquitoes. Approved the plan to release. According to Nature, in late April, the company placed mosquito egg boxes in six locations: Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, and Vaca Key. Over the next 12 weeks, about 12,000 newly hatched male mosquitoes should come out of the box.
This release acts as the first trial, and Nature reports that Oxitec will be able to collect data later this year with about 20 million mosquitoes before conducting a second trial. The company captures mosquitoes through tests to observe how far the insects move out of the box, how long they live, and whether female mosquitoes actually pick up the lethal gene and die. .. To make it easier to track modified mosquitoes, Oxitec has introduced a gene that makes mosquitoes glow under specific colors of light.
The trial faces strong opposition from a small proportion of Florida Keys residents and from the Food Safety Center and the Florida Keys Environmental Union. Live Science previously reported.. Nature reported that it placed the egg box on private land and did not disclose the exact location to the public, fearing that the egg box could be destroyed.
“When something new and innovative comes in, the immediate reaction of many is to’wait’,” said a molecular biologist focusing on bioengineered mosquitoes at the University of California, Irvine. Anthony James is not involved in Oxytech. The project told Nature. “So [Oxitec] It’s a big deal to be able to get a trial in the United States. “
The question remains whether GM mosquitoes have unintended effects on local mosquitoes, animals, or the entire ecosystem, Live Science previously reported.
For example, after Oxitec released a genetically modified mosquito in Jacobina, Brazil, a gene from an insect Occurs in local mosquito populations, Suggesting that some female offspring could not be killed before the lethal gene mated.According to a 2019 study published in the journal, their hybrid offspring did not carry the lethal gene, but instead the original Cuban and Mexican mosquitoes that were first used to create transgenic mosquitoes. Had a gene from a population of Science report.. It is unknown if or how these new genes have changed the biology of mosquitoes.
Molecular biologist Natalie Kofler, founder of Editing Nature, an organization advocating the responsible use of gene editing, said Oxitec’s trials “in a transparent way that can create some community members. I want to be struck, “he told Nature. I feel better about the overall situation. ”And the data will provide insight into how pests affect local species and ecosystems.
Originally published in Live Science.
The first genetically modified mosquito released in the United States
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