California is planning on releasing genetically engineered mosquitos into the wild.
Sadly, this should come as no surprise to anybody.
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The federal government has already approved the release of millions of these genetically engineered bloodsuckers into the California wilds.
The goal of Oxitec is to eliminate the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which causes a slew of illnesses that are harmful to humans. There’s some concern about this notion because independent researchers claim there isn’t enough evidence to show that releasing GM mosquitos will work as intended.
Oxitec says its genetically modified bugs could help save half the world’s population from the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito.
But scientists independent from the company and critical of the proposal say not so fast. https://t.co/fPfskZp27X
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 8, 2022
CA considers allowing genetically engineered mosquitos to be released into the wild, requests public comment https://t.co/sNNxyuTyFD
As if there is a shortage of moronic ideas here…
— House of Jubal (@JubalHarshaw13) April 9, 2022
“Soon, millions of these engineered mosquitoes could be set loose in California in an experiment recently approved by the federal government.
Oxitec, a private company, says its genetically modified bugs could help save half the world’s population from the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can spread diseases such as yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue to humans. Female offspring produced by these modified insects will die, according to Oxitec’s plan, causing the population to collapse,” The LA Times reported.
“Precise. Environmentally sustainable. Non-toxic,” the company says on its website of its product trademarked as the “Friendly” mosquito.
Scientists independent from the company and critical of the proposal say not so fast. They say unleashing the experimental creatures into nature has risks that haven’t yet been fully studied, including possible harm to other species or unexpectedly making the local mosquito population harder to control.
Even scientists who see the potential of genetic engineering are uneasy about releasing the transgenic insects into neighborhoods because of how hard such trials are to control.
“There needs to be more transparency about why these experiments are being done,” said Natalie Kofler, a bioethicist at Harvard Medical School who has followed the company’s work. “How are we weighing the risks and benefits?”