Split Decision in Keys Mosquito Vote

For months people in the Keys have been arguing about a proposed trial of GMO mosquitoes in Key Haven, a neighborhood about five miles from Key West. NANCY KLINGENER / WLRN
For months people in the Keys have been arguing about a proposed trial of GMO mosquitoes in Key Haven, a neighborhood about five miles from Key West.
NANCY KLINGENER / WLRN

With most of the vote in (32 of 33 precincts) the GMO mosquito question had split results.

In Key Haven where the test would take place, it’s a resounding no – 65 to 35 percent. But the rest of the county said yes – 58 to 42 percent.

Listen to the story here:

Survey: Most Florideans
Favor GM Mosquito

Wikimedia Commons - Aedes_aegypti_mosquito
Wikimedia Commons – Aedes aegypti mosquito

Between July and November 2015, a survey of those living in a Key West neighborhood revealed considerable opposition to using genetically modified mosquitos (sample size was 89 households).

In contrast, a recent Annenberg Public Policy survey (509 Florida respondents) tips the scale in the other direction. The Florida respondents were more likely to lean in the direction of GM mosquitos than those from other parts of the country. The center has released a guide for broadcasters covering the issue (there is some useful information for others in there as well).

GMO mosquito test approved

Aedes aegypti during blood meal

Photo by James Gathany [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Authorities have given the approval for testing genetically modified mosquitos in Florida. The company that developed the mosquito, Oxitec, promotes it as an alternative (less chemical impact) way to battle the pesky disease-bearing Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Continue reading “GMO mosquito test approved”

Zika-Fighting Mosquitos

Aedes_Albopictus-870x590

Puerto-Rican Congressman Pedro Pierluisi is pushing for Zika-fighting mosquitos to be introduced into the island to push back against the illness that plagues it. There are over 5500 people infected. There are 676 pregnant women who are infected as well. The virus can cause serious birth defects. As one might imagine, there is considerable confusion and fear regarding messing with the genes of a species. See this article about the mosquito called OX513A. When the modified male insects mate with females in the wild, 97% of the offspring do not survive. Studies in Brazil and Panama have had success rates as high as 90%. Are we smart enough to mess with mother nature in this way? The earth is a very complex ecosystem. Many feel that doing something like this can have unintended consequences. I guess we don’t know what we don’t know, and that’s what’s scary. However, there are thousands of people right now with the Zika virus who might argue otherwise, and several hundred babies to born with serious problems. Can we do nothing when we have the technology to  fix this? Read the ABC News article by Paul Blake and Gillian Mohney here.