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Florida Keys to release modified mosquitoes to fight illness

Florida

(AP Photo Felipe Dana, File)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Sometime next year, genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in an effort to combat persistent insect-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus.

The plan approved this week by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District calls for a pilot project involving the striped-legged Aedes aegypti mosquito.

It transmits several diseases to humans, particularly in the Keys island chain where nearly 50 case of Dengue fever have been reported this year.

The Oxitec biotechnology company plans to release millions of male, genetically-altered mosquitoes that would mate with females to produce offspring that could not survive.

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