In Defense of GMO Mosquitos
Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism (other than humans themselves). Mosquito-borne diseases kill over 1 million people every year, and one company could wipe out all of them.
Oxitec has developed genetically-engineered mosquitos, or “GMO mosquitos” as the corporate media seems fond of calling them. These babies can reduce the population sans all the downsides of pesticides. No toxic effect on the environment and humans, no causing insects to become resistant. Male mosquitos do not bite, so they are only using male Aedes aegypti. They are given a “self-limiting gene” which causes their offspring to die. They’ve essentially turned male mosquitos into mosquito birth control.
They’ve released in the CECAP/Eldorado district of Panama, Brazil where instances of dengue fever decreased from 133 cases in 2014–2015, to just 12 in 2015–2016. That’s a 91% drop in just 1 year. The rest of the municipality saw a 52% reduction in cases.
We can wipe out an invasive species and yet some Floridians think it’s a ploy to run all sorts of government experiments on them. These are people paranoid enough to halt the implementation a life-saving scientific advancement, but not enough to read up on how it’s already worked and why there’s virtually no risk. And these are the people who get to decide if we can conduct field tests and more trials in the US. Engineering an invasive insect to not produce viable offspring is not the same thing as roiding up a chicken so it weighs 10 pounds more than it did in 1950.