A new experience in Florida

After much discussion, a study on the release of mosquitoes into the wild aedes aegypti Genetically modified, newly carried out in the Keys archipelago in Florida. Initial results have been announced and look encouraging, but many points need to be clarified in order to quantify the impact of this measure on disease transmission by this vector.

This mosquitoes It feeds on the nectar of flowers and plants, but the female needs the proteins found in the blood to enable her eggs to mature. As such, it is the only one with mouthparts that allow it to suck a host’s blood.

From Species poke the man aedes aegypti It is a mosquito that lives in temperate, tropical and subtropical regions. It is also a vector of various viral diseases. dengue fever, zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. Biting during the day and adapting very well to urban conditions, it poses a threat to public health, especially for a number of reasons. arbovirusesLike dengue, they have seen incidence rates increase more than eightfold over the past two decades (WHO). Faced with the relative failure of traditional vector control methods, genetic engineering is under development.

Transgenic mosquitoes to reduce vector population

That’s why Oxitec Ltd., a UK-based company specializing in the development of biological solutions. vermin vectors conducted an experiment based on the complete release of diseases. weather related to mosquitoes aedes aegypti genetically modified.

Oxitec Ltd has been developing this mosquito species since 2013. embarrassed The so-called “self-limiting” has been modified, preventing the female’s survival. Thus, males released into the field can mate with wild females and produce only male offspring, which in turn can pass on the limiter gene. The principle is to reduce the mosquito population.

Since April 2021, researchers from this company have placed modified mosquito eggs in the facility’s properties.archipelago Keys, Florida. Traps have been set up to collect eggs and adults. In a collection of 22,000 eggs, results Show that the locomotion zones are the same in modified mosquitoes. against wild mosquitoes and breeding females would not survive. Also, the modified gene can persist for two to three months in the wild population.

A controversial initiative

Although this technology offers an alternative to vector control, it is still controversial. It has not been proven today that this study can have a real impact on public health. Additional trials of transmission of arboviruses will be required, there is no evidence that the reduction of mosquito populations has an impact on transmission of diseases.

After 10 years of fighting for public acceptance and despite being approved by the FKMCD (Florida Keys mosquito control zone) and by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the initiative is widely discussed, especially when a identical work Impact of crossbreeding of species carried out in Brazil transgenic savage and savage about disease transmission and other actions applied in vector control.

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