Genetically modified mosquitoes?

I have a few family members that live in South America that have contracted Chikungunya from a mosquito bite. I must admit that thinking of going to visit the areas affected with my children frightens me a bit. So I understand why someone would want to get rid of mosquitoes in affected areas.  Are genetically modified mosquitoes the answer?  It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie but they exist and have already been released by Oxitec’s 2012 experiment in the Cayman Islands.  Because of the rising fear of the spread of dengue and Chikungunya into the United States millions of Genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys.  U.S cases remain very rare but the mosquitoes have become resistant to 4 of the 6 insecticides used to kill them.  ID-1004924The article states that “Oxitec’s lab workers manually remove modified females, aiming to release only males, which don’t bite for blood like females do.  The modified males then mate with wild females whose offspring die, reducing the population”. So far more than 130,000 have petitioned against the experiment on  I guess my question on this debate is will killing off all mosquitoes in an area harm the ecosystem? And the offspring of these genetically modified mosquitoes are made to die…but what will happen if a few are stronger and live? They have become resistant to 4 of the 6 pesticides used to kill them and as we have seen in nature eventually things find a way to survive.  Could this somehow with time breed super mosquitoes?  Of course I am not a scientist but I think it is good to question things.  What are your thoughts on this?  Please share your thoughts below.

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Image courtesy of Christian Meyn at

One comment

  1. Organic Man says:

    The larvae of mosquitoes live in water and provide food for fish and wildlife. The larvae eat microscopic organic matter in the water, helping to recycle it. Adult mosquitoes are part of the diet of some insect-eating animals like birds, bats, dragonflies and spiders. They even pollinate some flowers when they consume the nectar. I think we need to be careful with messing around with the ecosystem. I say leave the Mosquitos alone! encourage people to look for natural ways to avoid bites such as mosquito nets and wearing protective clothing and such… There are many natural ways to avoid bites.

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