Posted 10:40 AM 8/15/2012 : Scientists Create Genetically Altered Mosquito
Most of us probably wouldn't mind if summer's biggest pest wasn't around anymore. We're talking about mosquitoes.
Right now there's talk of releasing ‘genetically modified' mosquitoes in South Florida to fight Dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
Experts say the specially created male mosquito will carry a special gene in their DNA, and once released, its sole mission will be to mate.
"When those females mate with out OXITEC mosquitoes, their offspring inherit that gene and do not survive," says Derric Nimmo with Oxitec in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Peter Stiling contracted dengue fever from a mosquito bite as a young man and now leads the biology department at the University of South Florida.
"So there's a great opportunity for the population to be reduced and where this is being tried in the Cayman Islands, there's an 80% reduction of mosquito population, which is quite something."
But not everyone is on board with the program. Some mosquito control officials worry something could go wrong if they "mess with nature."
The genetically altered mosquitoes won't be released until federal permits are issued. It's currently under review by the FDA.