"Are Mutant Mosquitoes the Answer in Key West?"

"When Hadyn Parry, chief executive officer of the British biotechnology company Oxitec Ltd, appeared at a Key West town hall meeting to present his plan to use genetically modified mosquitoes in the fight to eradicate dengue fever, he came up against familiar resistance."

"Alarmed local residents at the April meeting raised the specter of their island paradise being turned into an experimental 'Jurassic Park' for mutant mosquitoes.

'Have there been studies of what can happen if someone is bit by one of these mosquitoes?' said Key West realtor Mila de Mier. 'Are we the subjects, the guinea pigs of this experiment?'

Wary of the potential threat to its vital tourism industry, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control unit spends $1 million a year on eradication efforts and is constantly on the lookout for dengue, a potentially fatal virus with extreme flu-like symptoms that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito."

Michael Haskins reports for Reuters July 23, 2012.
 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012