The First Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Have Just Been Released in The US - ScienceAlert
May 06, 2021 1 min, 12 secs

The biotech firm Oxitec has released its genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, with the goal of suppressing wild, disease-carrying mosquito populations in the region.

This is the first time genetically modified mosquitoes have been released in the U.SA

Oxitec previously released its modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Panama and Malaysia, and the company reported that local A.

Oxitec's modified mosquitoes, all male, have been engineered to carry a lethal gene; when the modified pests mate with wild female mosquitoes, the lethal gene gets passed on to their offspring.

aegypti mosquitoes make up about 4% of the mosquitoes in the Florida Keys but cause the vast majority of mosquito-borne disease transmitted to humans in the area, Nature reported.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally approved the plan to release the genetically modified mosquitoes in the Keys, according to Nature.

To make it easier to track the modified mosquitoes, Oxitec introduced a gene that causes the mosquitoes to glow under a specific color of light.

For instance, after Oxitec released genetically modified mosquitoes in Jacobina, Brazil, genes from the insects cropped up in local mosquito populations, hinting that the lethal gene failed to kill off some female offspring before they could mate.

Their hybrid offspring did not carry the lethal gene, but instead carried genes from the original Cuban and Mexican mosquito populations first used to create the genetically modified mosquitoes, according to a 2019 study published in the journal Scientific Reports.


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