RSN April 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Excerpts: "A private firm plans to initiate the release of the GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Florida will be the first beta testing grounds to determine whether or not the mosquitoes lead to detrimental environmental and genetic impact. Residents in this area will also be subjected - without choice - to these genetically manipulated insects, unless the private firm decides to seek permission."

Biotech firm Oxitec plans the first release of GM mosquitoes in the US. (photo: CDC/Phanie/Rex Features)
Biotech firm Oxitec plans the first release of GM mosquitoes in the US. (photo: CDC/Phanie/Rex Features)



Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to be Released in US

By Mike Barrett, Natural Society

31 December 11

 

o those of you who have been eager to hear the latest news concerning the potential release of genetically modified mosquitoes - here it is. It turns out that the genetically modified mosquitoes could be released into the U.S. environment as early as January of 2012. A private firm plans to initiate the release of the GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Florida will be the first beta testing grounds to determine whether or not the mosquitoes lead to detrimental environmental and genetic impact. Residents in this area will also be subjected - without choice - to these genetically manipulated insects, unless the private firm decides to seek permission.

The first mosquito release took place in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean in 2009. On Sunday, October 27, the release was discussed in a scientific paper by the journal of Nature Biotechnology with the report concluding the releases’ success. A second trial occurred in 2010, where 6,000 mosquitoes were released in Malaysia for further experiments. The mosquitoes are genetically modified with a gene designed to kill them unless given an antibiotic known as tetracycline. Offspring of the GM mosquitoes will receive this same lethal gene which will kill the offspring before it can ever reach adulthood. As more genetically modified mosquitoes mate with wild mosquitoes, the idea is that more and more offspring will be produced with the lethal gene, thereby reducing the mosquito population.

Of course the risks these mosquitoes pose both on the environment as well as the health of all living creatures are highly unknown, leaving everyone with many more questions than answers. We have already seen how terribly genetic modification can threaten the environment and human health, yet people are still moving toward a genetically modified world. With the release of genetically modified insects could come the downfall of both local and global ecosystems as well as negative consequences concerning the food chain. There is simply no way of knowing what could happen by replacing the naturally born life forms on planet earth with genetically modified creations.

Some questions that still remain unanswered:

  • Will Oxitec, the creator of the insects, need to acquire the free and informed consent of residents in Key West for the release of the GM mosquitoes? With the previous release of the mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands there was no public consultation taken on potential risks and informed consent was not given from locals.
  • With 0.5 percent of the released insects being female (the gender which bites humans), what happens to humans if bitten by the female mosquitoes?
  • What could happen to the ecosystem and local food chain with the major decrease in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population?
  • Who will regulate the release, and who will be responsible in the event of complications – to any degree?

If Florida and the US approves Oxitec’s planned release of these genetically modified mosquitoes, we will become that much closer to future genetic modification of living creatures as well as the potential collapse of environmental and human health. Luckily, judging by the widespread opposition of genetically modified foods, it is likely that this experiment won’t turn into a reality without a fight.

Sources:

Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in the U.S.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+46 # IndigoE 2011-12-31 09:21
How about we lock the owners of Oxitec in a sealed room full of their "remanufactured " mosquitos (biting females included) and see how their doing after a few years... Oh, and be sure there's a stagnant pool of water for their invention to breed in. What is wrong with these idiots!!
 
 
+45 # bikewriter 2011-12-31 10:08
Welcome to the Brave New World of genetically modified capitalism. Here's how it works. If a company wants to rearrange life on earth as we know it, the US government says go right ahead. If you make lots of money, great. We'll see if we can arrange a way for you to pay no taxes. But if it turns out to be a monumental environmental catastrophe, don't worry. The taxpayers will clean it up for you (those who don't die in the process).
I didn't see any mention of fish here. Fish eat mosquitoes and their larvae. What happens to the fish or the people who eat the fish?
 
 
+11 # LeeBlack 2012-01-01 09:34
The problem is that 'if something goes wrong' there is no 'clean up'. It's like pushing toothpaste back in the tube. Fooling around with what millions of years of evolution has created makes no sense.
 
 
+23 # Andrew Hansen 2011-12-31 10:21
The hubris is on a new scale to be matched only by the level of short-sightedne ss. To mix a few metaphors.. chimera/sorcere rs apprentice/pand ora. Indeed these idiots are not thinking of anything but money. Con a few people into "needing" it and voila, a rain-maker. One more problem with the 1%, too few people making decisions.
 
 
+3 # Activista 2012-01-01 09:30
"One more problem with the 1%, too few people making decisions"
with almost 0 scientist in government - but ECONOMISTS/ideo logues - all they know is Excel to maximize short term PROFIT.
 
 
+20 # Activista 2011-12-31 10:22
"What could happen to the ecosystem and local food chain with the major decrease in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population?"
mosquito is also major pollinator - the million year of evolution is being disrupted - there is no way to get the balance back, once it is destroyed.
 
 
-1 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-01 17:56
Aedes aegypti is an introduced species that is not native to Florida. The balance was destroyed when it was introduced, and eliminating RESTORES the balance.
 
 
0 # Activista 2012-01-02 11:57
Quoting Texas Aggie:
Aedes aegypti is an introduced species that is not native to Florida. The balance was destroyed when it was introduced, and eliminating RESTORES the balance.

What is native to Florida by now? How many in Florida die of malaria - were infected by Aedes aegypti IN Florida?
 
 
0 # LeeBlack 2012-01-02 20:28
Tetracycline is a common antibiotic - when the mosquito bites someone who has tetracycline in their blood is the mosquito then immune? And all is progeny? Does it introduce a super-mosquito?
 
 
+20 # tedrey 2011-12-31 10:59
The decision makers of Oxitec should first put in writing, signed and notarized, that they will be fully responsible, financially and criminally, for any adverse consequences. The same for any Florida or federal officials who sign off on it. Then I'll bet they wouldn't do it.
 
 
-4 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-01 18:05
To be fair, then the citizens of Florida need to agree to award the monetary equivalent of any benefit that accrues to them to the owners of Oxitec.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2012-01-02 12:00
Quoting Texas Aggie:
To be fair, then the citizens of Florida need to agree to award the monetary equivalent of any benefit that accrues to them to the owners of Oxitec.

Will owners of Oxitec be responsible for long term environmental damage?
 
 
-12 # Justice 2011-12-31 11:29
A very cool idea. Mosquitoes have caused more deaths than all wars to date. and are second only to the GOP as a ubiquitous nuisance.
 
 
+6 # Activista 2011-12-31 12:02
www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index.html
schaemic heart disease 7.25 12.8%
Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease 6.15 10.8%
Lower respiratory infections 3.46 6.1%
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 3.28 5.8%
Diarrhoeal diseases 2.46 4.3%
HIV/AIDS 1.78 3.1%
Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers 1.39 2.4%
Tuberculosis 1.34 2.4%
Diabetes mellitus 1.26 2.2%
Road traffic accidents

The mosquitoes did not make it to top ten ..
 
 
+2 # Justice 2011-12-31 12:17
Quoting Activista:
www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index.html
schaemic heart disease 7.25 12.8%
Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease 6.15 10.8%
Lower respiratory infections 3.46 6.1%
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 3.28 5.8%
Diarrhoeal diseases 2.46 4.3%
HIV/AIDS 1.78 3.1%
Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers 1.39 2.4%
Tuberculosis 1.34 2.4%
Diabetes mellitus 1.26 2.2%
Road traffic accidents

The mosquitoes did not make it to top ten ..


"What’s the most dangerous creature on earth? Without question the answer is: the mosquito. Mosquitoes and the diseases they spread have been responsible for killing more people than all the wars in history. Even today, mosquitoes transmitting malaria kill 2 million to 3 million people and infect another 200 million or more every year. Tens of millions more are killed and debilitated by a host of other mosquito-borne diseases, including filariasis, yellow fever, dengue and encephalitis. " http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcmosquitoes.htm
 
 
+4 # soularddave 2011-12-31 19:22
Neither did the GOP.
 
 
+1 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-01 17:57
Neither do wars. Your reply was classic right wing smoke screen by not actually addressing the statement.
 
 
+4 # bostechie 2012-01-01 18:06
Quoting Activista:
www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index.html
schaemic heart disease 7.25 12.8%
Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease 6.15 10.8%
Lower respiratory infections 3.46 6.1%
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 3.28 5.8%
Diarrhoeal diseases 2.46 4.3%
HIV/AIDS 1.78 3.1%
Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers 1.39 2.4%
Tuberculosis 1.34 2.4%
Diabetes mellitus 1.26 2.2%
Road traffic accidents

The mosquitoes did not make it to top ten ..

That is because the mosquito doesn't kill anyone. Still, as justice correctly states it is responsible for so many deaths by virtue of being a carrier of so many diseases that afflict humans.

Your rankings are for actual dieases except for traffic accidents. A mosquito as never killed anyone - it's the disease it carries that does the killing.


Like it or not mosquitoes play an important role in our ecosystem.
 
 
-3 # LML 2011-12-31 12:27
Good research, Activista!!
 
 
+1 # Justice 2011-12-31 13:25
Quoting LML:
Good research, Activista!!


"What’s the most dangerous creature on earth? Without question the answer is: the mosquito. Mosquitoes and the diseases they spread have been responsible for killing more people than all the wars in history. Even today, mosquitoes transmitting malaria kill 2 million to 3 million people and infect another 200 million or more every year. Tens of millions more are killed and debilitated by a host of other mosquito-borne diseases, including filariasis, yellow fever, dengue and encephalitis. "
http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcmosquitoes.htm
 
 
+10 # 134tav 2012-01-01 09:51
Actually the most dangerous creature on earth and now in space is man. In the natural world natures keeps population of all creatures at bay. Unfortunately there is not enough of mosquitos and nature left to combat the cancer that is destroying this planet and that is the population explosion of man. his insane idea that he can beat nature and to think he could survive without is unreal. What scares me most is so called God fearing men who partake in the destruction of his creators world. If they really want to save lives they should use their
brains to create Peace and Harmony.
 
 
+12 # michelle 2011-12-31 12:39
Reminds me of Margaret Atwood's latest novel, The Year of the Flood, where genetic engineering runs amok. Some of you know Atwood from The Handmaid's Tale. Strange how science fiction has a way of becoming science fact.

Has anyone considered the law of unintended consequences? My question is simple. What happens if a mosquito bites someone taking the antibiotic tetracycline. Is the dosage in the human blood system enough to aid the mosquito? The article says, "The mosquitoes are genetically modified with a gene designed to kill them unless given an antibiotic known as tetracycline." Do we plan to take tetracycline out of our human antibiotic inventory? Just asking!
 
 
+1 # tapelt 2012-01-01 01:37
1. They would not live long enough to become adults.

2. Female mosquitoes die right after drinking blood then laying their eggs.
 
 
+3 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-01 18:02
That's true of ticks, not mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes take any number of blood meals over a period of several weeks (under appropriate temperature conditions). If they died right after taking blood and then laying eggs, they wouldn't be able to spread disease from one host to another.

Malaria in particular needs a period of about a week or two, depending on temperature, in order to reach the human infective stage in a mosquito. During that time the females are biting hosts and laying eggs.
 
 
+13 # pernsey 2011-12-31 15:21
Oh man, we are like lab rats to these companies, this is crazy!
 
 
+11 # RnR 2011-12-31 15:29
The unbridled stupidity of the sociopaths who have made it to the top of the corporate ladder is a source of never ending despair isn't it?
 
 
+6 # RMDC 2011-12-31 15:48
Oh, this is just great. Nothing like just experimenting on the blind.

I can see it now == all the mosquitos will be looking for humans who are taking tetracycline and will suck their blood just to survive. I think tetracycline is added to some birth control pills and it is very popular for skin problems like acne. I'll bet the mosquitos will learn to smell tetracycline blood a mile away.
 
 
+13 # hkatzman 2012-01-01 02:28
You're traveling through another dimension.. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!

It was the year 2012. A small biotech company released a genetically modified mosquito that, unless given a dose of antibiotic, would die before reaching maturity.
It is now 2022 and the results of this experiment has caused all humans to risk death before adulthood unless given a dose of antibiotic weekly. The small biotech company turned out to be a division of the large pharmaceutical company that is the only supplier of the critical anti-biotic.

You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone.
 
 
-1 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-01 18:09
So what you are saying is that somehow the gene switched from mosquitoes to humans. Maybe you can explain why in hundreds of thousands years of humans being bitten by mosquitoes, no other genes have jumped from mosquitoes to humans.
 
 
+2 # Activista 2012-01-01 09:25
Justice: "A very cool idea. Mosquitoes have caused more deaths than all wars to date"
Dick Cheney: "car accident in USA kill more people than in war in Iraq"
demagogic conclusion: concentrate on mosquito - forget war?
Only COOL college dropout (no statistics) from Microsoft can come to such conclusion.
Main reason for the death in Africa is lack of clean drinking water, malnutrition, poverty - many issues caused by wars.
US Iraq sanction caused death "The Iraq sanctions were a near-total financial and trade embargo imposed by the United ... Estimates of excess civilian deaths during the sanctions vary widely, but range from 170000 to over 1.5 million. ......"
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-01-01 15:18
I would like to see the testing studies to see what long term animals who live on Mosquitoes and larvae will have from eating these creatures.
We already see their are monsters coming from GMO products in insect, bacteria world so what about long term Bird and Bat eating?
Many of us use tetracycline in our chicken and animal water to ward off infections...no w we enable these mosquitoes to live and regenerate what?

Stupidity has definitely become the future of persons in power!
 
 
+2 # Jim Bynum 2012-01-01 17:30
Florida is an ideal place for this experiment as the Mosquitoes will be able to find plenty of tetracycline to support their growth in the sewage sludge used to fertilize fruits and vegetables as well as the sewage effluent (reclaimed water) used to irrigate crops. What we are dealing with is a bunch of highly educated idiots trying to play God.
 
 
-3 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-01 18:51
A few questions:

"release of the GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. "

What is a GE mosquito? Something with a light bulb in it?

"how terribly genetic modification can threaten the environment and human health, "

What are these threats? The linked article mentioned nothing about actual threats to the environment and human health. What it did say is that using Bt in corn has resulted in insects resistant to Bt, the same as any use of pesticides has resulted in pests resistant to pesticides. If spraying insecticides isn't a threat, then how is incorporating the insecticide into the body of the plant a threat. A rational person would realize that incorporated insecticides would target only those insects actually eating the plant, not beneficial insects such as bees, as opposed to the generalized killing of insects done by spraying. A rational person would wonder why the studies that supposedly report that feeding GM potatoes or corn to rats causes organ damage have been thoroughly discredited for their use of "creative" statistical analysis and experimental design where they compared apples to wind velocity.
 
 
+2 # Activista 2012-01-02 09:11
"not beneficial insects such as bees"?
Pesticide use resposibile for decrease in bee population: Organic ...
www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/poisoned-pollen
The honeybee population is dramatically decreasing. One reason for this population decrease is a common pesticide being used indoors and outdoors.
 
 
-1 # psadave 2012-01-01 21:31
Don't they remember how to kill mosquitoes? When I was a kid, they would drive around with trucks spraying DDT through the neighborhoods! JC (job creators) are missing their chance to help stimulate the economy buying vehicles and apparatus and people to drive, mix the spray, etc...
 
 
+1 # Activista 2012-01-02 09:14
"drive around with trucks spraying DDT through the neighborhoods! "
read the Silent Spring - plus cancer and chemicals ...
 
 
+3 # noitall 2012-01-02 00:21
What could possibly go wrong here! What a bunch of wreckless morons. We have roundup resistent weeds, pesticide resistent bugs now they're helping Nature create a super mosquito?
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN