FDA OKs first GM mosquito trial in U.S. but hurdles remain | Science News


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FDA OKs first GM mosquito trial in U.S. but hurdles remain

No significant impact on health, environment foreseen from release of engineered Ae. aegypti in Florida

5:38pm, August 5, 2016
GMO mosquito

FDA OK'S GM TEST  The first test release of GM mosquitoes in the United States (adult males grown from larvae like these) will probably have no significant impact on the environment in Key Haven, Fla., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced.

For the first time in the United States, free-flying genetically modified mosquitoes have federal approval to take wing in Florida. But when, and if, that will happen is still up in the air. Local officials will make the final decision — possibly not until after the November elections.

The World Health Organization has recognized these mosquitoes as possible tools for fighting the spread of mosquito-borne Zika virus. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision, announced August 5, covers only a specific, preliminary test release of GM mosquitoes on Key Haven in the Florida Keys, where no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported.

This trial of OX513A mosquitoes, genetically engineered by the British company Oxitec, “would be unlikely to result in adverse effects on the environment or human health,” the FDA ruled. If Key West commissioners approve it, the trial would release abundant GM male Aedes aegypti species carrying

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