Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Will Be Released in California
About 2 million genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in Florida and California with the approval of the federal government in 2024. Oxitec, a British biotech company, has worked on modifying male Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes’ genes so that their offspring will die before reaching maturity and decrease the mosquito population.
Mosquitoes carry many disease-causing pathogens and transmit them to humans and many animals. Some diseases that can be transmitted are yellow fever or Chikungunya fever. Although not all mosquitoes spread diseases, various diseases are spread by them. By biting an infected person, mosquitoes carry viruses and spread the viruses to other people through their bites.
The technicians inject synthetic DNA into the mosquito eggs using microscopic needles, then manage them for four full days. Some eggs will successfully hatch into larvae. Once those injection survivors are fully grown, they will be released and reproduce in nature. However, the offspring will die before reaching maturity due to their modified DNA.
Other scientists are concerned about the risks of releasing the mosquitoes. Some concerns are that the mosquitoes might produce stronger mosquitoes through mutation or that the genetically modified mosquitoes may be carrying pathogens that are harmful to humans. Many scientists have proposed how the U.S. Environmental Agency relies on the internal data of the company, which could be biased toward making profits for themselves.
Debates are going on about whether they should release genetically modified mosquitoes into nature or find other ways to stop the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases. Genetic engineering has brought many benefits to humans and scientists are hoping to prevent the further spread of diseases by modifying the genes of Aedes Aeguptis mosquitoes.
By Jiyun Seo