Up to a billion genetically engineered mosquitoes are going to be released in the Florida Keys—but locals are having none of it, with billboards erected saying ‘no!’ to the damned blood suckers.
The genetically-modified mosquitoes, known as the OX5034, were made in a laboratory in London by British biotech firm Oxitec, in a bid to kill-off a species in the Florida Keys that carries dengue fever, Zika virus, and yellow fever.
It comes after more than 7,300 dengue cases were reported in the US in the past decade, Vice reports. While most were contracted outside America, 71 were transmitted in Florida, according to the CDC.
Under a two-year Experimental Use Permit approved by the United States EPA, Oxitec will release over 1 billion genetically modified mosquitoes across 6,600 acres in Florida and Texas.
However, billboards have been erected across the region in protest of the trial by the Coalition Against GMO Mosquitoes, condemning what it said was an “uncontrolled release”.
The group is also airing radio spots to “educate Florida Keys residents about the health and environmental risks”.
For more expert commentary, B&T turned to Twitter where the names “Bill Gates”, “Anthony Fauci” and “conspiracy” frequently appeared alongside terms relating to the release of the mosquitoes.
Footage on the ground also showed a first-hand encounter with the blood suckers.
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