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Florida Officials Approve Release Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

A biologist examines a mosquito. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
A biologist examines a mosquito. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Officials in the Florida Keys have approved a controversial plan to manage mosquito-borne diseases by poisoning the gene pool of the species responsible for spreading dengue, Zika and yellow fever.

Members of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District voted this month to approve the release of more than 750 million mosquitoes that have been genetically modified so the only viable offspring they produce are males.

Only female mosquitoes bite humans, so proponents of the plan say it’s a way of controlling the spread of mosquito-borne diseases without spraying pesticides. But others have called it a risky experiment with potentially dangerous effects on the environment and human health.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Phil Goodman, commissioner and chairman of the board of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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