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Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:09 PM

750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes approved for release in Florida Keys

Source: CNN.com

A plan to release over 750 genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys in 2021 received final approval from local authorities, against the objection of many local residents and a coalition of environmental advocacy groups. The plan had already won state and federal approval.

"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," said Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, in a statement released Wednesday.
Now the Monroe County Mosquito Control District has given the final permission needed. "What could possibly go wrong? We don't know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed," she added.

Approved by the Environment Protection Agency in May, the pilot project is designed to test if a genetically modified mosquito is a viable alternative to spraying insecticides to control the Aedes aegypti. It's a species of mosquito that carries several deadly diseases, such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/19/health/gmo-mosquitoes-approved-florida-scn-wellness/index.html



What could possibly go wrong right?

Does anyone care that we in the midst of 2020?

I admire the stated intentions/goals but I'm nervous. No, actually I scared shitless

49 replies, 2804 views

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Arrow 49 replies Author Time Post
Reply 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes approved for release in Florida Keys (Original post)
BadGimp Aug 2020 OP
Thomas Hurt Aug 2020 #1
dewsgirl Aug 2020 #11
Laelth Aug 2020 #2
Roc2020 Aug 2020 #3
SergeStorms Aug 2020 #4
Phoenix61 Aug 2020 #5
mitch96 Aug 2020 #22
Phoenix61 Aug 2020 #25
mitch96 Aug 2020 #33
Phoenix61 Aug 2020 #39
mitch96 Aug 2020 #41
malthaussen Aug 2020 #47
mitch96 Aug 2020 #48
paleotn Aug 2020 #6
Bayard Aug 2020 #7
ms liberty Aug 2020 #21
RobinA Aug 2020 #28
csziggy Aug 2020 #46
mitch96 Aug 2020 #24
Phoenix61 Aug 2020 #26
DBoon Aug 2020 #8
Doug.Goodall Aug 2020 #9
GulfCoast66 Aug 2020 #29
Doug.Goodall Aug 2020 #40
GulfCoast66 Aug 2020 #43
mitch96 Aug 2020 #34
NurseJackie Aug 2020 #10
moreland01 Aug 2020 #12
GulfCoast66 Aug 2020 #30
PoliticAverse Aug 2020 #13
Kali Aug 2020 #14
Igel Aug 2020 #18
Kali Aug 2020 #20
GulfCoast66 Aug 2020 #31
NutmegYankee Aug 2020 #42
CaptYossarian Aug 2020 #15
BamaRefugee Aug 2020 #16
NNadir Aug 2020 #17
Scruffy1 Aug 2020 #23
NNadir Aug 2020 #27
GulfCoast66 Aug 2020 #32
MrsCheaplaugh Aug 2020 #37
sandensea Aug 2020 #19
Codeine Aug 2020 #35
Warpy Aug 2020 #36
llashram Aug 2020 #38
Keth Aug 2020 #44
csziggy Aug 2020 #45
Hassin Bin Sober Aug 2020 #49

Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:12 PM

1. There is a monster flick here somewhere...probably a QAnon conspiracy too.

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Response to Thomas Hurt (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:50 PM

11. There's an episode of Black Mirror involving modified bees.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:14 PM

2. This can't be a good idea. n/t



-Laelth

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:16 PM

3. hmm. what can go wrong??

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:20 PM

4. What could go wrong?

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:22 PM

5. It's a great idea. It specifically targets the

one type of mosquito that carries disease. It leaves the other 80% plus of the mosquito population alone for birds, bats etc to eat. It eliminates the need to blanket the entire area with toxic chemicals.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 07:52 PM

22. From what I understand is that the modification is that it makes the male mosquito sterile

and renders the female unable to conceive. No baby mosquitos as daddy is shooting blanks.
m

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Response to mitch96 (Reply #22)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 07:57 PM

25. Not quite.

The new male mosquito, OX5034, is programmed to kill only female mosquitoes, with males surviving for multiple generations and passing along the modified genes to subsequent male offspring.
Males eat nectar so they are not a vector for disease.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #25)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:57 PM

33. "OX5034, is programmed to kill only female mosquitoes"

How does it kill the female mosquito?
m

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Response to mitch96 (Reply #33)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 11:56 PM

39. Females die before they mature.

Males mature and mate with healthy females. Only their male offspring survive. Eventually they are all gone.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #39)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 05:22 AM

41. Man, talk about selective sterilization!! nt

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Response to mitch96 (Reply #33)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 11:13 AM

47. Talk about misogyny.

I wonder how they can "program" the male skeeters to be so selective?

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #47)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 11:17 AM

48. Ahh the wonders of science. I believe the females are the only ones that suck blood so

Off to the wood shed with them.. Males are only after the sweets..
m

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:23 PM

6. Frankenskeeters

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:24 PM

7. Okay, I get the idea

Article says:

Batches of the sterile OX513A would be allowed to live and mate with females; however, their male and female offspring would inherit the "kill" programming and die, thus limiting population growth.

One of the main concerns is the birds and other animals that will eat them.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 07:01 PM

21. It's got to be a better idea than what they used to do

In Florida back in the day when the mosquito plane or truck would drive thru or fly over your neighborhood. If my memory serves, at one time they were using DDT as one of 5he pesticides. I grew up down there, and it was nothing to get caught outside when the plane flew over, and kids regularly followed the mosquito truck.

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Response to ms liberty (Reply #21)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:13 PM

28. OMG

I forgot about following the mosquito truck!! Used to do it at the Jersey Shore. The mosquito truck was the next best thing to the ice cream truck. Those were the days!

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Response to ms liberty (Reply #21)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 08:35 AM

46. Some places still spray - a purely anecdotal story

Last week, the man whose crew poured our front sidewalk told me that in his area (Wakulla County south of Tallahassee, Florida) the birds are finally returning. He said about ten years ago, the county did aerial spraying for mosquitoes and that all the song birds disappeared. He was distressed about this - a redneck type who mostly talked about hunting. This year was the first year he's seen bluejays since the county was sprayed.

Wakulla County does not list what they use to spray on their web site.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 07:55 PM

24. " birds and other animals that will eat them."

So the problem is if the birds somehow get "modified" in the process? Hell I eat GMO food and the only problem is the big horn growing out of the front of my head..... that's all
m

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Response to Bayard (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 07:58 PM

26. They are 1% of the mosquito population. nt

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:35 PM

8. better sterile mosquitos than poisonous insecticides

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:42 PM

9. Okay, okay. Kudzu and lovebugs did not work out so well, but we have got it this time!

Every detail has been worked out and we have though this one through to every possible outcome.

Now hold my beer while I open this jar of mosquitoes.

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Response to Doug.Goodall (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:26 PM

29. Love bugs are a native species to Florida and the Southeast.

Their larva eat rotting vegetation. They were not that populous until we began building huge expanses of grass in yards and along roadways and mowing them regularly. We created an environment that allowed them to have a population explosion.

Kudzu was a plant in Asia introduced here as a fodder crop. It failed at that but had no natural insects to attack them.

Neither were genetically modified and just responded to changed or new environments.

They really have nothing to do with this issue.

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #29)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 05:06 AM

40. I guess smart an humor go together like oil and water.

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Response to Doug.Goodall (Reply #40)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 07:24 AM

43. Well, what little intelligence I have is eclipsed by my sense of humor

But there is no getting around the fact that a shocking number of people actually believe Love Bugs were ‘created’ in a lab at the University of Florida.

Have a great day and stay safe.

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Response to Doug.Goodall (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 09:01 PM

34. Ok Kudzu is bad in the US south. In japan it's arrowroot, a thickening agent. If you go to

asian stores the stuff is expensive. I was wondering if some entrepreneur would make a killing harvesting and selling this stuff for a profit? Or is the American version not as good?
m

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:45 PM

10. Fantastic!! I've been hoping for this day for a long time!

Let's do it everywhere!!

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 05:54 PM

12. Isn't that how

Love Bugs were released and subsequently splatted all over the windshields of Florida cars? Are they nuts?

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Response to moreland01 (Reply #12)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:32 PM

30. No. You are totally off base. As in totally wrong.

Love Bugs are a native of Florida and the Southeast. Their larva eat rotting vegetation. They were a somewhat unknown species of insect until we started building huge roads and lawns where the grass was regularly mowed creating a habitat for a population explosion. And driving cars which hit them. They started being noticed as early as the 40’s.

DU is a fact based site. Please delete your post.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:01 PM

13. Someone needs to release 750 million genetically engineered bats. n/t

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:09 PM

14. same priciple we used to get rid of screw worms

back in the 60-70s saved a lot of economic loss for ranchers and farmers and TON of animal suffering - domestic and wildlife.

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Response to Kali (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:42 PM

18. Nobody remembers the irradiated screw flies.

They still release them, by the way, when there's an outbreak. There was one a few months ago.

Part of the problem is that nobody remembers the misery caused by the screw flies. It's easy to forget that kind of problem after a generation or two--why remember bad things and tell your kids how horrible they used to be? The kids don't want to hear and won't remember if there's nothing in it for them and it's not relevant to them now.

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Response to Igel (Reply #18)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:46 PM

20. oh god I remember them

I remember having to carry "dope" and watching for baby calves having them in their navels, having to be so careful of any wounds all during the summer and then the boxes laying around on the land - dropped from planes with the sterile males.

ugh it is a good thing people don't remember and don't have to know, but they do need to think about reality sometimes. and it is good to be cautious - tons of unintended consequences out there, but that one was/is mostly a success.

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Response to Kali (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:49 PM

31. Lord, I've pulled screw worms out of Animals! Horrible suffering for the animal!

The only thing that bothers me about DU is not necessarily political. But as a supposed fact based site there is a huge distrust of science here.

We have used radiated or modified insects for years to control horrible pests to humans, plants and animals.

Leave things alone and we in Florida will have Yellow Fever and Malaria before you know it.

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #31)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 06:49 AM

42. The Anti-science dumbfuckery is eating America alive!

As an engineer it frightens me.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:10 PM

15. Coming soon to the SyFy Channel: Sucknado!

And then 27 sequels and remakes.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:12 PM

16. You can trust Florida! No mistakes EVER down there, sterling reputation.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:14 PM

17. I recently attended a lecture by Nobel Laureate Richard Roberts on the subject of fear...

...of genetic modifications.

Dr. Roberts has worked tirelessly to fight anti-GMO ignorance, and was responsible for organizing the signing of this famous letter:

107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs

Zika, Dengue and Yellow Fever are deadly diseases.

The people raising these objections are clearly not scientists, and they are not qualified to object to saving human lives, any more than the people at Greenpeace are entitled to let children go blind because they know no science and object to Golden Rice.

Here is the biography, from the CTA website of Jaydee Hanson, the spokesperson carrying on about this:

Jaydee Hanson directs the CTA’s work on human genetics, including work on stem cell research, cloning, and gene/embryo patenting. He also works on the convergence of biotechnology and nanotechnology.Prior to coming to CTA in 2004,he served as The United Methodist Church’s staff director of genetics and bioethics issues from 1981 to 2004. From 1991 to 2004, he also was the legislative director for the church. Mr. Hanson has testified to many state and US congressional hearings on human cloning, animal and gene patenting, and related issues. He coordinated the 1995 religious leaders’ statement opposing gene and animal patenting, which was endorsed by over 200 leaders from every US religious tradition. Hanson has served on many committees related to public policy and genetics. He chaired the National Council of Churches’ Exploratory Commission on the New Human Genetics and chaired the National Council of Churches’ Eco-justice Working Group biotechnology taskforce. He is a member of the World Council of Churches’ genetics and nanotechnology committees, which developed new policy for that world-wide body of 400 denominations. He served on the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Religion Advisory Committee and the Ecumenical Roundtable on Science and Religion. He is a fellow of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future.


http://www.icta.org/our-staff/

If some baby is born with microcephaly because of Zika, this asshole isn't going to do a damn thing to help the family suffering as a result.

There is no evidence that this person has ever taken a course in genetics, never mind worked on genes in any way. He is, as far as I can tell, an ignoramus holding forth on a subject about which he knows nothing other than that he hates this science on a gut basis.

As a scientist, I note that whenever religious figures start sticking their incompetent noses in scientific issues, going all the way back to Galileo, the result is usually tragedy..

I don't want religious leaders telling women what to do with their bodies, or telling children that is against their religion to be vaccinated or any such thing.

Anti-GMO stuff is the moral and ethical equivalent of creationism.

Genetic engineering saves lives. Most protein drugs are created by gene insertion, including those that cure serious cancers.

Recently a genetic engineering drug was approved by the FDA, whereby insertion of a gene in a living human being allows blind people to see.

To hell with this priest and the two attorneys who make up the staff of this ignorance factory.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 07:55 PM

23. Thanks for the post.

Having been involved years ago in mosquito control research I really think that it's about time to test this in a real world situation.
i know the knee jerk reaction comes from something the "all natural" crowd. I used to keep a mason jar full of crude oil in my cupboard just for them. It's all natural and 100% organic. Lately I've been thinking of making some oleander tea, but I'm not a killer. Fact is, most things in nature will kill you and everything we eat has been modified to make it safer and healthier either by centuries of selective cultivation. GMO is just faster.

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Response to Scruffy1 (Reply #23)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:09 PM

27. My pleasure.

Thank you for letting me know you agree.

Frankly, I was expecting that if I got a response to this post it was going to be from a type I see too often; a person with a knee jerk reaction featuring arrogant ignorance, a nominally "liberal" response that was, in fact, Trumpian.

I am a political liberal of long standing in the sense that I believe in human rights, justice, an end to poverty, health care, and a clean and sustainable environment that we can present without shame to future generations. In my long life, my generation fell short of all these goals, and in many ways, way short which pains me.

This said, we do have a fair amount of "woo-woo" on our side that is quite destructive, anti-nukes, anti-GMO, some anti-vaxxers, anti this anti that. We act as if all tragedy derives from the political right, and while much more of it does than it does with us, we are not entirely innocent, far from it.

Engineering mosquitoes to die before maturity can save lives and prevent huge burdens of disability.

Genetically modified organisms, as you rightly point out, have long been produced by breeding, and the molecular biological approach of directed evolution is not qualitatively different from breeding a sheep dog.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 08:51 PM

32. Thank you so much. For bring facts to a supposedly fact based community.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 10:09 PM

37. Excellent points. nt

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 06:42 PM

19. This is like a bad '70s creature feature

Like so much that Repugs do in recent years.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 09:25 PM

35. A great idea.

I’d love something similar to be enacted with Argentine ants on the West Coast.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 09:52 PM

36. This has been in debelopment for many years

I confess I'm a bit nervous about this for inland areas. Mosquito larvae are an important part of the food chain, and a sharp depletion of numbers would destroy fresh water fish stocks and likely other animals as well.

As for the Keys, this is most likely the safest place for this experiment, also the most appropriate. Dengue is moving north and the multiple strains have made vaccine development extremely challenging. I know one multivalent vaccine has been in large scale trials in Mexico, but I haven't heard the outcome.

I have a particular grudge against A. aegypti, bastards are active all day long and they love me. One of the reasons I moved to the desert was to get away from them.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Wed Aug 19, 2020, 11:38 PM

38. something will go wrong

have no idea what, but human hands are all over this genetically modified frankenbug, so something will go wrong.../

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 08:16 AM

44. Interesting

This is how horror movie ideas are born. Maybe, just maybe, we should let nature just be.

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 08:27 AM

45. Brazil has been releasing sterile male mosquitoes for years

Mosquito sterilization offers new opportunity to control chikungunya, dengue, and Zika
14 November 2019 News release

A technique that sterilizes male mosquitoes using radiation will soon be tested as part of global health efforts to control diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika.

The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is a form of insect birth control. The process involves rearing large quantities of sterilized male mosquitoes in dedicated facilities, and then releasing them to mate with females in the wild. As they do not produce any offspring, the insect population declines over time.

The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and WHO have developed a guidance document for countries that have expressed interest in testing the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for Aedes mosquitoes.

<SNIP>

The Sterile Insect Technique was first developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been used successfully to target insect pests that attack crops and livestock, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly and the New World screwworm fly. It is currently in use globally in the agriculture sector on six continents.

The guidance on using the technique to control diseases in humans recommends adopting a phased approach that allows time to test the efficacy of the sterilized insects. Epidemiological indicators monitor the impact of the method on disease-transmission. It also provides recommendations on mass production of the sterile mosquitoes, government and community engagement, measuring the impact of the technique, and assessing cost-effectiveness.

More: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/14-11-2019-mosquito-sterilization-offers-new-opportunity-to-control-chikungunya-dengue-and-zika


This article talks about sterilization through radiation, but four years ago Brazil was using GMO mosquitoes:

Brazil will release billions of lab-grown mosquitoes to combat infectious disease. Will it work?

By Kelly ServickOct. 13, 2016 , 9:00 AM

BRAZIL—Every Saturday morning, Maria do Carmo Tunussi goes door to door asking her neighbors to scour their houses and yards for flowerpots, buckets, clogged gutters—anything that could collect water and offer mosquitoes a place to breed. For 17 years, Tunussi has been a community health agent at the local clinic in CECAP/Eldorado, a district of about 5000 people in the small city of Piracicaba, 2 hours northwest of São Paulo, Brazil. She has seen many surges of the mosquito-borne dengue virus, which causes fever, nausea, and agonizing joint pain. The task sometimes feels futile. "You remove the breeding site one day, and the next day, it's back," she says. "It never ends."

Last April, CECAP became the first neighborhood in Piracicaba to try something new—a mosquito control tool that Tunussi believes not only stamped out dengue, but kept the Zika virus from taking hold. That tool is OX513A—a strain of transgenic Aedes aegypti mosquitoes designed to reduce the population by passing a lethal gene to their offspring.

In Florida, a planned release by Oxitec, the company behind the insects, is mired in public resistance. But here in Piracicaba, few residents seem to bat an eye at the little clouds of mosquitoes spilling out the window of the Oxitec van on its slow morning route.

That may be because dengue is so common here. The virus sickened about a million and a half people in Brazil last year, and more than 1600 in Piracicaba between July 2015 and July 2016. Panic over the spread of the Zika virus has only amplified interest in solutions beyond pesticides, which aren't all that effective against A. aegypti, and breeding site removal, which, despite Tunussi's efforts, is hard to keep up year after year. So it's not surprising that, 7 years after releasing the world's first genetically modified (GM) mosquito, Oxitec has chosen Brazil as the site of a major scale-up. It is moving from small-scale pilot projects like the one in CE CAP to planned releases covering tens of thousands of people.

More: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/brazil-will-release-billions-lab-grown-mosquitoes-combat-infectious-disease-will-it#


Published online 2015 Jul 2
Suppression of a Field Population of Aedes aegypti in Brazil by Sustained Release of Transgenic Male Mosquitoes

Abstract

The increasing burden of dengue, and the relative failure of traditional vector control programs highlight the need to develop new control methods. SIT using self-limiting genetic technology is one such promising method. A self-limiting strain of Aedes aegypti, OX513A, has already reached the stage of field evaluation. Sustained releases of OX513A Ae. aegypti males led to 80% suppression of a target wild Ae. aegypti population in the Cayman Islands in 2010. Here we describe sustained series of field releases of OX513A Ae. aegypti males in a suburb of Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil. This study spanned over a year and reduced the local Ae. aegypti population by 95% (95% CI: 92.2%-97.5%) based on adult trap data and 81% (95% CI: 74.9-85.2%) based on ovitrap indices compared to the adjacent no-release control area. The mating competitiveness of the released males (0.031; 95% CI: 0.025-0.036) was similar to that estimated in the Cayman trials (0.059; 95% CI: 0.011 – 0.210), indicating that environmental and target-strain differences had little impact on the mating success of the OX513A males. We conclude that sustained release of OX513A males may be an effective and widely useful method for suppression of the key dengue vector Ae. aegypti. The observed level of suppression would likely be sufficient to prevent dengue epidemics in the locality tested and other areas with similar or lower transmission.

Full paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4489809/

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Response to BadGimp (Original post)

Thu Aug 20, 2020, 11:51 AM

49. Thy tried this with tsetse flies with horrific results.

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