Oxitec is proposing to release its genetically modified (GM) OX5034 Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the US states of Florida and Texas.
The EPA has opened a public comment period. Oxitec's application says, "Female offspring of the OX5034 mosquitoes in the environment are expected to die before they mature into adults and therefore exposure to biting female mosquitoes is not anticipated."
However, experience with another strain of Oxitec mosquito, OX513A, shows that Oxitec's claims that its GM mosquitoes are self-limiting are unreliable. The GM mosquitoes ended up breeding with native mosquitoes, transferring their genes into the natural population and forming hybrid mosquitoes that may be more vigorous and have a different disease-carrying potential.
Please write to the EPA objecting to the release:
Comments must be received on or before October 11, 2019.
Possible points for your emails include (please use your own words and add your personal concerns):
* Public safety concerns must be respected and this experimental release must not be allowed to go ahead.
* Oxitec's claims that its GM mosquitoes are self-limiting are not reliable, based on previous experience with a release in Brazil: the GM mosquitoes reproduced and perpetuated themselves in the environment.
* The risks to health and environment posed by the release of the GM mosquitoes have not been properly evaluated.
* It is not known what impacts cross-breeding between GM and native mosquitoes may have on their ability to transmit diseases.
* Releasing GM mosquitoes is not a sustainable technology, since if the releases are stopped, the populations rebound to pre-release levels.
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