Florida Keys voters back trial release of Zika-fighting GMO mosquitoes

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On Tuesday, voters in the Keys voted by a solid majority to go ahead with a plan proposed by British biotech firm Oxitec to release genetically engineered male mosquitoes in Key Haven, a suburb of Key West. More than 57% of the 40,000 votes cast in the Keys favored the project.

The referendum that Keys residents voted up on Tuesday was non-binding, meaning that later this month the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board could still decide to either go forward with the project or abandon it. Three of the five commissioners on the board have promised to decide in line with voters’ wishes. But while a majority of Keys residents voted in favor of the project, 65% of the 639 voters in Key Haven, where the trial would be conducted, voted against it. It’s unclear what the board will decide with the community most directly affected by the trial casting their ballots against it.

Oxitec’s plan relies on male mosquitoes that have been given a lethal gene that kills off any offspring they might have with a wild female.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Florida voters just approved the release of mutant mosquitoes to combat Zika