Biotech firm Oxitec launches controversial field test of its insects in Florida after years of push-back from residents and regulatory complications.
Researchers and technicians working on the project will release bioengineered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which don’t bite, to mate with the wild female population, responsible for biting prey and transmitting disease. The genetically engineered males carry a gene that passes to their offspring and kills female progeny in early larval stages.
The experiment, launched this week in the Florida Keys — over the objections of some local critics — tests a method for suppressing populations of wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can carry diseases such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
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