In the United States, they will release 2.4 billion genetically modified mosquitoes to fight deadly diseases

Genetically engineered male mosquitoes may soon be released in parts of California as part of an experiment to halt the spread of invasive species in a warming climate.

The EPA has authorized British biotech company Oxitec to release up to around 2.4 billion of its genetically modified mosquitoes through 2024, expand its current trial in Florida and launch a new pilot project in the Central Valley of California, where the number of mosquitoes is increasing.

Oxitec’s Modified Mosquitoes Are Male, So They Don’t Bite. They were developed with a special protein so that when they mate with a female mosquito, the only viable offspring they produce are non-biting males as well.

The project specifically targets the mosquito Aedes aegyptione of over 3,500 species of mosquitoes and a dangerous invasive insect that has spread diseases such as dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and yellow fever to other countries.

California’s extreme drought has contributed to the increase in mosquito populations.

The most dangerous diseases are not yet spreading in California, but authorities have highlighted the invasive insect as a growing risk.

Oxitec has already introduced this particular strain of genetically modified mosquitoes to Brazil and has just completed a year-long trial in the Florida Keys.

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