Biotech company to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida

January 30, 2015 6:56 PM

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When chemistry falls short, biotechnology is ready to pick up the slack in the southern US. The UK-based biotech firm Oxitec is working on a plan with the FDA to combat mosquito-transmitted disease with genetically modified organisms rather than chemical pesticides. If the plan is approved, millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys with the aim of reducing the population of mosquitoes capable of transmitting two tropical diseases, dengue and chikungunya.

Researchers say the warming climate has pushed tropical diseases like dengue and chikungunya further north. These are both viral infections carried by mosquito species like Aedes aegypti, which transmits the virus to humans when biting. Both viruses cause extreme muscle and joint pain, fever, nausea...

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