At least 103,000 people have signed petition against a mutant mosquito plan in Florida. Surprisingly, residents of Key West do not want to be lab rats in an experiment by the state and Oxitec.
The plan is for Oxitec to release male mutant mosquitoes into the environment in hopes of them mating with females and producing offspring that do not live very long. The upside of this would be that the insects might stop spreading diseases. However, the downside is that a genetically engineered mosquito could have unintended consequences to the environment and people living in the area.
Key West resident Mila de Mier created the petition to stop the release of a mutant mosquito using Change.org, and she was surprised by how many people have joined her effort by signing the petition.
She said, "Nearly all experiments with genetically-modified crops have eventually resulted in unintended consequences: superweeds more resistant to herbicides, mutated and resistant insects also collateral damage to ecosystems."
The reason why Oxitec believes the experiment is safe is because the male mosquitoes do not bite, so people will not be bitten by the genetically modified insects. Of course, whatever offspring they produce could possibly bite.
Ultimately, de Mier and the residents in Florida do not want to be the victims of unintended consequences from genetic modification. What do you think? Would you sign this petition if you lived in the region or if something similar were happening near your home? Do you think that governments and companys need to be more careful about this type of experimenting?