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750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to be released in Florida

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2020 is well and truly shaping up to be a year straight out of a sci-fi movie, and some mad scientists in Florida are about to add more crazy to the mixing pot. Forget global pandemics – why don’t we release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the world?

Yep, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has just approved the release of 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the U.S. state. 

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Florida will soon see the release of a huge number of genetically modified mosquitoes as part of an experiment to reduce the number of mosquitos which usually swarm the state. 

Florida residents have long put up with the annoying buzz and itchy bite of mosquitoes in the hot sticky air. While officials have attempted to rid the critters by spraying their habitats with nasty pesticides, it seems as though nothing has helped reduce the number of bloodsuckers present in the Florida air. While this is an issue of general annoyance among the public, it is also a pretty serious public health issue, with the nasty bugs spreading a number of potentially fatal diseases. 

As only female mosquitoes bite people, scientists have genetically modified them to contain a protein that will hopefully reduce any female offspring’s chance of survival. Scientists also believe the protein may even prevent them from biting people, stopping the spread of a number of diseases such as dengue fever and Zika.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved the plan, as well as another set to take place in Texas. They are facing some pretty heavy objections though, with some groups wanting to sue the EPA, while others are protesting the safety of the experiment. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, described the trial as a “Jurassic Park experiment,” commenting: 

“What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because they unlawfully refused to seriously analyse environmental risks.”

If you see a swarm of 750 million mosquitoes flying towards you, your best bet is probably to run. But hey, after everything else this year has thrown you, you probably won’t be surprised. 

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June 19, 2020