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Genetically-Modified Mosquitos Could Soon Be Released in California

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An Aedes aegypti mosquito has pulled out her mouthpart after feeding on someone’s arm. (Josh Cassidy/KQED)

Millions of genetically-modified, non-biting mosquitoes may soon be set loose in California after federal regulators gave the green light to a study aimed at preventing transmission of diseases like Zika and dengue. British biotech firm Oxitech says its technology alters male mosquitos to only produce viable male offspring, leading to population declines as females die off. While it may sound like the plot of a horror movie, the company says the new process is safe and necessary to address the growing global threat of mosquito-borne diseases. But some scientists and other critics say it could create even more virulent mosquitos, among other health and environmental risks. We’ll discuss the plan, which still requires state approval.

Guests:

Lisa Krieger, science writer, San Jose Mercury News<br />

Dana Perls, food and technology program manager, Friends of the Earth

Rajeev Vaidyanathan, Director of U.S. Programs, Oxitec - a biotech company based in the United Kingdom.

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