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Monster Mosquitoes

Jeffrey Smith, from the Institute for Responsible Technology (responsibletechnology.org), was a guest on the January 26th edition of Focus on South Florida, a television show airing Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. on WBFS-TV, Channel 33 in the local market (“MyTV33”). The segment, which was hosted by chief investigative reporter, Michele Gillen of WFOR-TV (CBS4), reported on the considered release of genetically modified mosquitoes infected with herpes (simplex?) and E. coli bacteria into the Florida Keys area by a company to supposedly reduce the incidences of dengue fever by allowing the genetically modified mosquitoes to breed with natural mosquitoes and rendering their offspring sterile, as a result. However, not all offspring resulting from such pairings are sterile, meaning that some of the mosquitoes will potentially inherit active genes which will pass on to their own larvae when they reproduce. The male mosquitoes are targeted for the gene-changing “operations,” as they are the ones which supposedly don’t bite humans. However, female mosquitoes, which do bite humans, have slipped through and wound up infected, as well.

Oxitec, the company which has produced these mosquitoes, have already released these genetically engineered monsters into Grand Cayman Island in 2009, and further released additional batches more recently into Malaysia and Brazil. The results have proven that the theory does not work. Now they plan to release mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, but actions are underway to try to countermand this horrible idea.

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