Food and Technology Blog

Controversial release of genetically engineered mosquitoes delayed

Posted Jan. 4, 2012 / Posted by: Nick Berning

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has reportedly delayed its planned release of genetically engineered mosquitoes — which would have been the first-ever such release in the U.S. — until late spring at the earliest. The release was planned as a mosquito population control technique but has raised health, ethical and environmental concerns.

Friends of the Earth biotechnology policy campaigner Eric Hoffman had the following response:

“This delay is welcome and prudent given the risks that genetically engineered mosquitoes pose.

“The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is considering what would be the first-ever U.S. release of genetically engineered mosquitoes into the wild, and such a monumental decision should not be taken lightly. Introducing genetically engineered mosquitoes into the environment could destabilize ecosystems, harm human health and scare away tourists, endangering the Florida Keys economy. These potential impacts must be evaluated through a serious and thorough environmental impacts review process. We are confident that any truly impartial, science-based review will lead to the cancellation of this risky experiment.”

CONTACT: Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org; Nick Berning, 202-222-0748, nberning@foe.org

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Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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