Friday, August 05, 2016

FDA Releases Final Environmental Assessment for Genetically Engineered Mosquito


It's been more than 4 years since we first looked at the Proposed GMO Mosquito Trials In Key West with the intention of releasing the Oxitec mosquito, bio-engineered to carry a lethal gene that the males can pass on to their progeny that causes them to die in the larval stage.

Since then Oxitec did a test release of GM mosquitoes in Brazil where they reported a 92% reduction in Aedes Mosquito populations in Pedra Branca.

Between the threats from Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya - combined with growing levels of insecticide resistance around the world - suddenly GM mosquitoes, Wolbachia, and other novel control methods are getting a lot of attention again.

For the past several months the FDA has been reviewing both the likely environmental impact, and public reaction, to a test release of these mosquitoes in the Florida keys.

Today the FDA has announced their decision, that this field trial poses no significant risk to the environment. 

While a significant hurdle, this isn't the last one that must be crossed before a field test can take place. First a brief announcement from the FDA, followed by the links the supporting studies. 

FDA Releases Final Environmental Assessment for Genetically Engineered Mosquito


August 5, 2016

The FDA has completed the environmental review for a proposed field trial to determine whether the release of Oxitec Ltd.’s genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes (OX513A) will suppress the local Aedes aegypti mosquito population in the release area at Key Haven, Florida. After considering thousands of public comments, the FDA has published a final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) that agrees with the EA’s conclusion that the proposed field trial will not have significant impacts on the environment.

FDA’s finalization of the EA and FONSI does not mean that Oxitec’s GE mosquitos are approved for commercial use. Oxitec is responsible for ensuring all other local, state, and federal requirements are met before conducting the proposed field trial, and, together with its local partner, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, to determine whether and when to begin the proposed field trial in Key Haven, Florida.


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