(ETH) – The Florida Keys is set to release what is being said to be “billions” of genetically modified mosquitoes over the next couple of years with the hopes of eliminating a disease-carrying mosquito.
According to the report, The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) and Oxitec, a British biotech company, will release the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) Aedes aegypti mosquitoes this week, which will see up to a billion over a two-year period.
This project has a goal of reducing the number of Aedes aegypti, which is one of several mosquito species that are capable of carrying diseases including dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever. Not everyone is excited about the project, as many Floridians are calling on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end ‘this live experiment’ saying they are being subjected to terrorism by the FKMCD.
The first phase of the project is said to be releasing up to 144,000 GE mosquitoes over the next 12 weeks. Ultimately, up to a billion will be released in Monroe County. According to the Daily Mail, The Frankenstein mosquitos, which were developed by Oxitect, have been modified to pass on a particular protein when they mate, which ensures female offspring do not survive the next generation.