Another company Oxitec, based in the UK but financed by American funds, got the green light from the US agency for the protection of the environment to release its lab-modified mosquitoes in Florida.
“Oxitec’s safe, non-biting male mosquitoes are designed to suppress local wild populations of disease-spreading mosquitoes,” a spokesperson for the company told AFP.
“The mosquitoes carry a self-limiting gene which means that when our mosquito males mate with wild females, their offspring inherit a copy of this gene, which prevents females from surviving to adulthood,” Oxitec added.
As a consequence, “there is a reduction in the wild pest population,” Oxitec said.
Around 750 million genetically mosquitoes will be released to battle natural mosquitoes under Florida’s blue sky.
Scientists warn that global warming could trigger major outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya or zika in the future, as mosquitoes thrive in warm temperatures and have longer breeding periods.