According to a new scientific publication, genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by the biotech company Oxitec (Intrexon) have escaped human control after trials in Brazil. They are now spreading in the environment. The yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) are genetically engineered to make it impossible for their offspring to survive. After release they were supposed to mate with female mosquitoes of the species which transmit infectious diseases, such as Dengue fever, to diminish the natural populations. However, the now published research shows that many offspring of the genetically engineered mosquitoes actually survived and are spreading and propagating further. According to the scientists, between 10-60 percent of the mosquitoes in the region concerned are inheriting parts of the genome of the mosquitoes released in the trials. These insects used in the laboratory have now mixed with the Brazilian insects to become a robust population which can persist in the environment over a longer period of time. They might replace the original insects on the long term and even exacerbate the problems associated with the mosquitoes. Christoph Then for Testbiotech commented, “The Oxitec trials have led to a situation that is largely out of control."

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