Field Trial Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

MIAMI (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says a field trial releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys would not harm humans or the environment.

The agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine on Friday released a preliminary finding of no significant impact for a field trial proposed by the British biotech firm Oxitec.

The company modifies Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with synthetic DNA to produce offspring that won’t survive outside a lab. Oxitec has conducted similar tests in Panama, Brazil and the Cayman Islands. The method aims to reduce populations of the mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and the Zika virus among humans.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District wants to test Oxitec’s mosquitoes in a small neighborhood north of Key West. The FDA will review public comments on Oxitec’s proposal before deciding whether to approve that trial.