The EPA recently gave the green light to begin a pilot program in California and Florida for the release of 2.5 million genetically engineered male mosquitoes. The Aedes Aegypti have been a known invasive species in California since 2013. The mosquitoes can be found in as many as 22 countries to date and biting females can spread dengue, Zika, yellow fever and other diseases. In 2016, the spread of Zika began in Miami-Dade County, Florida and because of the correlation to A. Aegypti, the CDC recommended pregnant women to avoid one mile are that the mosquitoes were known to typically inhabit.
The released flies will be all male and when they mate with the wild population, the wild population’s females will die before their eggs can hatch and the newborn males will continue to spread the daughter-killing gene. The state government of California has allowed the program to begin and cities like Fresno, Tulare, and San Bernadino can begin the release of the modified mosquitoes. However the Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services need to vote on the plans before they can go into effect.