As if GMO frankenfood wasn’t bad enough, meet the newest genetically modified object: mosquitoes.
These guys are said to help curb the Zika crisis in Florida, but are they actually safe and able to curb the health issue?
After 200 cases of Zika were confirmed locally in Florida, the state decided to do something to try and contain the outbreak.
But instead of more conventional measures, they opted to let the public vote on whether or not they would approve of GMO frankenbugs swarming around, and it seems they approved.
Although no cases of Zika have been reported to have originated locally in the Florida Keys, oddly enough, this is where the experiment will start to take place.
The British biotech company Oxitec will be the ones to roll out the modified mosquito army.
These GMO mosquitoes are unable to reproduce by killing their offspring at birth, so when they are released into the wild, they will mate with native mosquitoes and tightly control the subsequent generations of those who may be carrying the Zika virus.
Trials in Brazil and the Cayman Islands claims these genetically modified mosquitoes can curtail up to 90% of the population of those who have Zika, but that doesn’t mean everyone is convinced of the safety – especially with other health concerns not related to Zika.
The Food and Drug Administration gave its blessing for the project in August, however, Floridians are opposing the measure on the grounds that it may not be safe. Questions unanswered include whether or not there is an underlying health consequence that is either being downplayed or has not surfaced because previous trials haven’t been long enough.
And although the measure was passed, there was still very vocal opposition to it amongst the community in the Florida Keys, namely those concerned of concealed or unknown health effects on human beings.
It seems odd timing to create such frankenbugs, especially when the United Nations has very recently declared that Zika is no longer a worldwide health emergency.
But despite opposition and local concerns, the GMO mosquitoes will begin making their homes in the Florida Keys soon, and hopefully without consequence to public health.