750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to be released

Scientists will release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild. This is to reduce the number of insects that have diseases like Zika virus and yellow fever. It will start next year in the Florida Keys – a long chain of tropical islands stretching south of Florida. The modified mosquitoes are all male. They carry a protein that will kill young females before they reach biting age. Only female mosquitoes feed on our blood and bite us. Males only feed on nectar from flowers. Scientists hope the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes in the area will fall.

Environmental groups are not happy with the plan. One group called it a "Jurassic Park experiment". It called Florida "a testing ground for mutant bugs". It warned the project could damage local ecosystems and this could never be reversed. The experiment could create a new super-species of mosquito that is resistant to insect spray. One environmental group said: "The release of genetically engineered mosquitoes will needlessly put Floridians, the environment and endangered species at risk." The company releasing the mosquitoes said there was no risk.