A plan to release over 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022 received final approval from local authorities.
You remember way back before Coronavirus stole the show, the Zika Virus was making headlines across the World. In response to this failed pandemic an American owned, British-based company called Oxitec announced they could genetically modify the offending Mosquitos to help stop the spread of Zika and other viruses.
Well, the Zika scare may have gone away but Oxitec and their Frankenstein creations didn’t stop.
Oxitec have already released GM mosquitos into the wild in Brazil reducing the population of the specie by up to 95% in just 13 weeks:
Relative to the untreated control area, releases of Friendly™ male mosquitoes achieved* an average of 89% peak suppression across two communities treated with a low release rate of mosquitoes and an average of 93% across two communities treated with a higher release rate.
The optimal suppression observed was in one community wherein a 96% peak suppression with the high release rate over a four-week period was achieved.
If this god-like behaviour doesn’t concern you, then maybe the knowledge that Oxitec are also working on GM Moths and Worms might convince you otherwise.
Wiping out entire species of any naturally occurring part of our environment is a highly dangerous game to play, what are the knock-on effects down the road. The extent of devastation this could cause is unknown, and that’s the problem.
But apparently they didn’t want to review this issue when considering whether to authorize the release of the modified insects.
Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, said:
“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,”
Mosquitos are annoying, I’ll be the first to agree as I write this in the South of France with the little terrors trying to latch on every few minutes, but just because they are a nuisance does not mean they play no significant part in the eco-system.
Not surprisingly, the media and its Google mouthpiece have ensured that if you attempt to research whether Mosquitos are useful are critical to the environment you’ll end up believing they hold no importance.
This piece from Nature.com is a great example:
If there was a benefit to having them around, we would have found a way to exploit them. We haven’t wanted anything from mosquitoes except for them to go away.
But if you just tweak tour Google Search to only include results from before 2015 you will get an entirely different viewpoint:
Mosquitoes are part of a viable ecosystem that has developed over at least 100 million years on earth.
They are such an integral and integrated part of the planet’s ecology that their absence would cause changes that could be detrimental to the creatures who depend on them.
Although many a human has contemplated a world without mosquitoes at one time or another, the overall results of this dream-come-true may be surprising.
The truth is no one can say what the long-term effects of genetically engineering any living organism is. The variables involved are beyond our ability to know, let alone calculate.
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