And no one asked my permission!
Tech magazine Wired released an article saying that Fresno, CA, is a city in action. They are leasing 20 tubes of genetically modified mosquito organisms twice a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each tube contains 1000 mosquitoes. So in 10 summer weeks 400,000 mosquitoes – officially known as “a scourge” – will have been released in a small subdivision of homes in Fresno. The goal? To reduce the carrier of the Zika virus which has moved into this community.
Not just Zika, but other diseases are passed by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito can carry dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika. It is a hardy insect needing less water to breed and enduring colder weather than others. The small Fresno community where the new GMO mosquitoes are being tested had previously used insectisides to stop the growth of the Aedes aegypti mosquito without success. Now they are turning to mosquitoes altered with the Wolbachia virus.
Similar to the program in Florida, which has run aground seeking approval from the FDA, the Wolbachia-infected mosquito has been approved as a perticide, a process simpler than the FDA’s caution over GMOs. If it works it will speed up the process of getting rid of the harmful mosquito. Illustrating just how long it might take the FDA to approve the use of the GMO mosquito is the salmon. It took 20 years to receive approval. [Ed. update: The GMO Zika mosquito has been FDA approved to mixed reviews]
Raised in a lab with the last 12 hours in a cardboard tube does not predict virle males ready to mate. However, without the mating the brood of doomed eggs of the disease carrying females will not happen. The goal is to release more males than females to leave no other choice. 400,000 male mosquites within 120 acres of suburban homes, it is hoped, will be enough to make a difference.