Oxitec scientists said they had reduced the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus, by 90 percent or more in other areas where the company’s modified mosquitoes have been released, including Brazil. The male mosquitoes carry synthetic DNA as larvae. They are hatched and then released as adults to mate with females (who do all the biting) in the wild. The DNA infuses their offspring with too much protein, causing them to die.Given the immense slaughter mosquito-borne diseases wreak on humanity, this seems like a good idea to many of us. But a plan to test these genetically-neutered mosquitoes in Key West is running into the same sort of unease with technology that drives vaccine avoidance and many other issues:
“People here can survive what nature throws at them,” said Gilda Niles, 64, who arrived in Key West from Cuba in 1967 and moved to Key Haven in 1980, when it was just a plot of earth with cheaper land, water on three sides and more space. “Hurricanes, bring them on; long-timers here seldom evacuate. Mosquitoes, well, that’s the price of paradise. Zika, this too shall pass, like dengue. But science and government, I’m not so sure about.”We can survive anything but science and government – there's a sentiment to ponder. How did we get here, and what can we do about it?