In an effort to curb the spread of invasive species in a warming environment, genetically engineered male Mosquitoes may soon be buzzing throughout parts of California. The EPA has granted Oxitec gives permission to release a maximum of 2.4 billion genetically modified Mosquitoes until 2024, expand its existing experiment in Florida, and launch a new pilot study in California’s Central Valley, where mosquito populations are on the increase.
The modified Mosquitoes created by the Uk company are male, they do not bite. They were created using a unique protein that ensures that when they mate with a female mosquito, the only viable progeny are non-biting males. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, one of over 3,500 mosquito species, is a deadly invasive bug that has transmitted illnesses such as dengue fever, Zika, Chikungunya, and yellow fever in other nations.
The business thinks that releasing their genetically modified bugs would aid in the management of the Aedes aegypti mosquito in California, where the population has been on the rise in recent years. The California Department of Public Health, the species has spread across the state, having been discovered in 21 counties.
The state’s drought which has resulted in low water levels in pipes and ponds, sluggish stagnant streams, and less rain to wash out water systems – has aided mosquito populations, which prefer to congregate around homes and towns. The company’s friendly male Mosquitoes are shipped as eggs, ready to be deployed in a “just-add-water” device, potentially lowering the expense of eliminating the species.