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GMO Mosquito Opponents Turn Toward Courts

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
AP via Miami Herald

Most voters in the Florida Keys said in a Nov. 8 referendum that they were in favor of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Keys.

But groups opposed to the release have not given up and are turning toward the courts. A coalition of groups, including the Center for Food Safety and the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The groups allege the FDA's finding of no significant impact failed to take into account the potential effects of the genetically modified mosquitoes on the endangered species that live in the Keys.

The proposed trial would be the first in the U.S. for Oxitec, the company that developed the genetically modified version of Aedes aegypti. That's the mosquito that can carry dengue fever, chikungunya — and the Zika virus.

The trial was first proposed for the Key Haven neighborhood, about four miles from Key West. Voters in that area rejected the plan,  and on Saturday, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board agreed to move forward in a different location.

That new site has not been chosen. The FDA must review the  site before the trial can go forward.

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Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.
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