Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to be Released in US
By Mike Barrett, Natural Society
To those of you who have been eager to hear the latest news concerning the potential release of genetically modified mosquitoes – here it is. It turns out that the genetically modified mosquitoes could be released into the U.S. environment as early as January of 2012. A private firm plans to initiate the release of the GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Florida will be the first beta testing grounds to determine whether or not the mosquitoes lead to detrimental environmental and genetic impact. Residents in this area will also be subjected – without choice – to these genetically manipulated insects, unless the private firm decides to seek permission.
The first mosquito release took place in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean in 2009. On Sunday, October 27, the release was discussed in a scientific paper by the journal of Nature Biotechnology with the report concluding the releases’ success. A second trial occurred in 2010, where 6,000 mosquitoes were released in Malaysia for further experiments. The mosquitoes are genetically modified with a gene designed to kill them unless given an antibiotic known as tetracycline. Offspring of the GM mosquitoes will receive this same lethal gene which will kill the offspring before it can ever reach adulthood. As more genetically modified mosquitoes mate with wild mosquitoes, the idea is that more and more offspring will be produced with the lethal gene, thereby reducing the mosquito population.
Of course the risks these mosquitoes pose both on the environment as well as the health of all living creatures are highly unknown, leaving everyone with many more questions than answers. We have already seen how terribly genetic modification can threaten the environment and human health, yet people are still moving toward a genetically modified world. With the release of genetically modified insects could come the downfall of both local and global ecosystems as well as negative consequences concerning the food chain. There is simply no way of knowing what could happen by replacing the naturally born life forms on planet earth with genetically modified creations.