California could release billions of genetically modified male mosquitoes to fight the disease

The future is obviously not a woman California mosquitoOr at least that, researchers want to achieve when unleashing 2.4 billion genetically modified blood-sucking males into the West Coast states from this summer to control a fast-growing population. Is to be.

The Environmental Protection Agency Last month, biotechnology company Oxitec announced that it had received approval to expand its existing pilot program. Florida He moved to the Central Valley of California, expanded his campaign until 2024, and was fully allowed to release up to 2.4 billion during that period.

Since male mosquitoes do not sting, there is a theory that increasing the proportion of male offspring born each season reduces the chances of female stinging mosquitoes spreading deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever. ..

To achieve this effect, Oxitec researchers have combined a special protein with males to ensure that when mated with a chewing female, the only viable offspring that results is a less biting male. bottom.

This campaign can affect all types of mosquitoes, but the target groups are Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes are a dangerous invasive species that has been increasing in number in recent years in the West Coast states.

In 2013, these ankle bites were slightly concentrated in the large districts of Los Angeles County. These ankle bites are said to be able to pierce clothing and lay eggs in the amount of water in a bottle cap. By 2020 Los Angeles Times reportIts concentration was swelling to cover the entire district.

California is not yet aware of the increase in diseases that can spread pests, but pests have potential and uncontrolled population growth only increases these risks. There is growing concern.

In a statement from Oxitec’s CEO issued after the announcement of the pilot’s expansion into California, he and his team expressed how “proud” they were to achieve this “milestone.” ..

“Given this mosquito is increasing its health threat across the United States, we are working to make this technology available and accessible,” said Gray Francen. .. In the statement..

For California, the climate crisis has brought countless challenges, wildfires, droughts and storms, to name a few. However, warming planets also pose problems for maintaining the population of these vampire vampires and other invasive species that have become established in recent years.

Droughts lower the water levels of pipes and lakes, making them ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Many of those eggs are not washed away because it does not rain.

The project has been approved by the EPA, but is awaiting final approval from the California Agricultural Chemicals Regulatory Authority. The creator of the GM bitter is “looking forward” to “demonstrate the technology,” as CEO Francen says, but it’s not transparent enough and the risk of introducing this new breed is far more than a pro. There are critics who believe they are outperforming.

For example, the results of the first Florida pilot test have not yet been released to the public, raising concerns about the actual success of the project.

And when the EPA announced the expansion of its Florida project to California this year, the agency received 13,000 opposition comments, most of which were environmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth, Responsible Technical Research Institutes and Food Safety Centers. Collected by.

In the report from Parents, Dana Perls, Program Manager Together with Friends of the Earth in a trial in Florida, he explained how opposition to mosquitoes released without further trials comes from well-earned places.

“People are asked to trust that Oxitec’s experiments work and that GE female mosquitoes can’t survive. But how do you know that?” Pearls said. Parents..

Perls’ concern, along with other critics of Perls’ California campaign, points out that there are antibiotics commonly used in agriculture. This happens to be a hotbed in California, which actually reverses Oxitec’s genetic intervention and actually breeds females.

The antibiotic tetracycline is common in places where mosquitoes like to nest, especially in wastewater. They say that if these GM bitters interact with this wastewater, it could lead to hybrids where scientists can’t explain the end result, but ultimately it could make population control even more difficult. I’m afraid to be.

However, the EPA has outlined that it is not permitted to release organisms within 500 meters of sources that may contain antibiotics, especially wastewater treatment facilities.

However, we do not guarantee that insects will not invade one of these facilities.

Mary Joycoburn, Communication Director, Greater LA County Vector Control District, Los Angeles Times last yearThese mosquitoes may not be able to fly far, but they are “wise”.

In an anecdote she shared with the outlet, she explained how a female mosquito could jump into your car very easily and lay eggs in the next city where you dropped her.

California could release billions of genetically modified male mosquitoes to fight the disease

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