Oxitec has garnered the approvals needed to test its genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida, the Huffington Post reports.
The firm has developed male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that, when they mate with wild female mosquitoes, result in female offspring that die before reaching adulthood. In this way, the population size of Ae. aegypti, which can transmit diseases like dengue fever and Zika, decreases over time.
Oxitec has sought to conduct a field test of their mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, but ran into opposition from residents there. A resident told NPR in 2016 that the altered mosquitoes were an unproven technology that could have unanticipated effects on the environment and people. A non-binding referendum of Monroe County — which includes the Florida Keys — voters later in 2016 approved the trial.
According to the Huffington Post, Oxitec now has all the approvals it needs from federal, state, and local officials to conduct its Florida test, which will occur in Monroe County.
A previous trial run in Brazil found the number of wild mosquito larvae dropped by about 82 percent. The firm is likewise pursuing a trial in Harris County, Texas, the Huffington Post says.