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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Take Out Zika Carrying Mosquitoes in Texas

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Intrexon, a biotechnology company, has come up with a way of eliminating Zika carrying mosquitos – by genetically engineering a line of mosquitoes who have a gene in which their offspring die within a couple of days of birth. Not only would this potentially take out Zika, it would lower a number of mosquitoes that are buzzing around biting Texans.

Dallas News reports that the company Oxitec has taken trials of their well-respected experiment to Brazil, India, and Panama. Now, they are ready to start tackling the mosquito problem in the United States despite pushback from Texans.

A common concern would be that the modified mosquitoes would impact humans by biting them, but scientists say they would only create male mosquitoes since only female mosquitoes bite. They say that when a female modified mosquito is created (1 out of 1,500), its bite wouldn’t affect people, anyway. Another worry is that testing hasn’t been thorough enough and could have negative effects on the environment. But the Oxitec says it could be seen as safer, cheaper, and more effective than spraying for mosquitos with chemicals.

“In the trials, Oxitec releases a thousand engineered male mosquitoes every 110 yards in a chosen area every two days. After six to nine months, a 90 percent reduction in the Aedes aegypti population has been recorded,” Dallas News reads.

There are still quite a few hurdles to jump over before Oxitec brings their trials to Texas. KHOU says that it would be well into next year before they could start in a controlled area of Harris County. Perhaps afterward, other major cities take notice and sign on.