Florida to Release 750 Million Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes
If there's one thing that we learned in 2020, it's that we shouldn't tempt fate. I swear, I'm going to flip out on the next person to say anything about how we've "seen the worst of it," or "What else can this year throw at us?"
In what seems to be an answer to the cursed question above, the state of Florida is preparing to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes. According to CNN, the plan is actually to use these mutant skeeters to reduce the population of regular, non-x-men blood suckers.
These winged biological weapons (named OX5034) are all females, and they have been modified to produce offspring that die in the larval (read: pre-biting) stage. The plan is for these saboteur hussy-bugs to intervene in the regular mating cycle of the Aedes aegypti - the mosquito that carries West Nile, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and several other diseases. Once OX5034 mates with male aegypti, officials hope that population numbers for the next wave will be greatly reduced.
Not everyone is happy with the plan, however. Even though the EPA has approved this bug and the plan to unleash them on the Florida Keys and Harris County, Texas in 2021 and 2022 - some claim that the insects engineered and owned by Oxitec may not be safe. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety issued this statement yesterday:
"With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment"