Nobody likes mosquitoes. Aside from the obvious—that they’re annoying—they also carry a host of diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis, chikungunya, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and now, health officials warn us, the Zika virus.
Over time, tons of toxic chemicals have been deployed in the war against this most unpopular of insects. Now we have a new weapon: genetic engineering.
Oxitec, a British company recently purchased by Intrexon Corp. (NYSE:XON), which also bought the creators of GMO salmon and GMO apples, wants to release millions of experimental GMO mosquitoes for the first time in the U.S., in the Florida Keys.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says that’s “probably” OK, based on, what else? Studies conducted by the company that created the Frankenbugs (and stands to make a small fortune from them).
Never mind that scientists say the jury is still out on whether or not it’s a smart—or safe—idea to release millions of these genetic nuisances into the environment. Once again, the FDA is quick—maybe too quick—to side with industry over caution and common sense.