Thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes have begun to be released in Florida this week as part of an effort to combat a disease-spreading species of the insect.
The buzzy project, from British biotech company Oxitec, aims to curb the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can spread diseases such as Zika and dengue fever, The Miami Herald reported.
The project aims to have genetically modified male mosquitoes mate with non-modified females, which are the ones that bite.
A so-called “death mechanism” would then act to prevent any resulting female offspring from surviving.
“The female offspring of these encounters cannot survive, and the population of Aedes aegypti is subsequently controlled,” Oxitec said in a statement.
British biotech company Oxitec hopes to control the population of disease carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by having them mate with modified male mosquitoes. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File
The modified pests will be placed in six locations in the Florida Keys, with some 12,000 expected to emerge