…And this is downright frightening!
(CNN) — A genetically modified male mosquito named OX5034 has received both state and federal approval to be released into the Florida Keys now through 2022, against the objection of many local residents and a coalition of environmental advocacy groups.
“The administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment, except without the island,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director at the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, in a statement.
“What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because they unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks,” she said.
Approved by the Environment Protection Agency this week, the pilot project is designed to test if the genetically modified mosquito is a viable alternative to spraying insecticides to control the Aedes aegypti. It’s a species of mosquito that carries several deadly diseases, such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
The mosquito OX5034 has been altered to produce female offspring that die in the larval stage, well before hatching and growing large enough to bite and spread disease. Only the female mosquito bites for blood, which she needs to mature her eggs. Males feed only on nectar, and are thus not a carrier for disease.