Target: Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Prevent the release of genetically modified mosquitoes
The Food and Drug Administration is being pressured to allow a British biotech company to release 10,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys. The mosquitoes contain a gene that forces their offspring to self-destruct. The goal is to eliminate diseases carried by mosquitoes, such as Dengue Fever.
The genetically modified mosquitoes are intended to all be males. These males will mate with existing females, and the hatched larvae will – in theory – not survive long enough to bite a human. The system is not foolproof though, about one female in 1,500 is accidentally released. This is alarming because it is female mosquitoes that bite. There has not been enough research conducted to learn what the consequences of being bit by a genetically modified female mosquito might be.
History shows that nearly all experiments involving genetically modified crops have unintentionally led to a range of different consequences. These consequences can wipe out entire species, leading to an imbalance in the ecosystem which eventually affects all humans.
The unknown consequences that come with being bit by a genetically modified mosquito are a complete mystery. One concern is that the mosquito can transmit the engineered protein into a human’s bloodstream via a mosquitos’ salivary gland. There has been no research conducted to see the consequences that could be aligned with such a transaction.
Further research must be conducted before haphazardly releasing thousands of mutant mosquitoes. A similar experiment in the Cayman islands reduced the mosquito population by as much as 80%. It is ignorant only to focus on the benefits and not research the possible negative side-effects. Before any further action is taken in the planned release of these modified mosquitoes, more research needs to be conducted in order to answer some critical questions.
Dear Food and Drug Administration,
Releasing mutant bugs on a community against their will should not be allowed. Families are concerned with the unknown effects of possibly being bit by one of the female mosquitoes and have little choice but to be experimental mice is this action is allowed. There is no excuse for the permittance of innocent humans being the subject of scientific experimentation. The results of the experiment should be answered before placing thousands of people at risk.
Additionally, Oxitec admittedly does not have answers to many questions regarding the impact of such an experiment on the environment. There is plenty of evidence in history pointing to unintended consequences when it comes to genetically modified crops and animals. Before any further action is taken, the expected consequences on the environment need to be narrowed down and discussed as to whether such consequences are worth the benefits.
It is the responsibility of the FDA to protect our citizens. Third-party research and opinion needs to be consulted before relying on profit-bearing Oxitec to release thousands of mosquitoes that can very possibly do more harm than good. It is for this reason that the FDA must reject requests to release these mutants in Key West.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Alvesgaspar via Wikipedia