Why this company releases genetically modified mosquitoes in the wild

Oxytech has developed a system to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases.
Oxytech has developed a system to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases. (© frank29052515 / Adobe Stock)

Everyone knows that horrible feeling. One summer evening you will sleep peacefully. The window is open because it is hot. Suddenly, a bug brushes your ear with the characteristic sound of its wings: “ZZzzz. ⁇

Now in addition, imagine this Mosquito May affect you A deadly disease. As is the case Aedes EgyptThe tiger is a species similar to the mosquito and is capable of transmitting yellow fever, dengue, zika virus or chikungunya.

Oxitec, an American company based in Oxford, UK, wants exactly this kind of display. To eliminate. That’s how it is.

Local permit is pending

Since April 2021, a project has already been underway in the Keys Archipelago in Florida. The company was recently approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It is now awaiting local approval to continue its operations in Florida and launch a new one in Visalia, California, USA.

“It simply came to our notice then Up to two billion mosquitoesBut we’re close to five million, “he said news.frMeredith Fensom, Oxitec Spokesman.

Paradox: The more mosquitoes they emit, the more their population decreases

But, how do they do it? Company Genetically modified Mosquito eggs of the species in question, The Aedes EgyptBefore leaving them in the wild in boxes designed for the occasion.

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This type of box is where the genetically modified eggs hatch and then hatch.
This type of box is where the genetically modified eggs hatch and then hatch. (© Oxitec)

With the addition of glowing color to these creatures in the localization logic, the change is not small. Prevents female hatching.

DNA-modified males, which hatch in a short week, then mate with the females and start again. Females do not hatch, and so on Only males can perpetuate heredity.

So there are still men in the woods, but “for the simple reason it is absolutely not a problem Men do not bite. They don’t even have the elements for that, ”says Meredith Fensum with a smile. In other words, the disease is not transmitted to men.

We used the same technique in Brazil, and in a few months 95% of the mosquitoes became extinct.

Merit FenceOxytech Spokesperson

Little by little, no more females, the number of mosquitoes has greatly decreased.

Coming soon to France?

“No”, Oxitec’s Meredith Fensom, answers us very clearly. The reason given cannot be simple. The goal is not to eradicate all mosquitoes, but to control mosquito-borne diseases. And “In France, you have no problem with that.”
He referred to foreign departments, some of which are threatened, but the setting there is “not on the agenda”.

What is the impact on the ecosystem?

Species in question, Aedes EgyptIs all over the world.

The genus Aedes aegypti in question is found in many countries.
The Aedes EgyptThe race in question, exists in many countries. (© Oxitec)

If the purpose of the business is to prevent the spread of the disease, the effect is somewhat apparent Gentle elimination. Oxytech has no problem because, according to her, “there are no mosquitoes There is no key link in the food chain. Removing them will not change anything. ”

Furthermore, this method helps to avoid drying out the swamps or touching all kinds of animals with pesticides. The company finally guarantees that “there will be no change in the environment, fauna, flora or minerals.”

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