Researchers in a New York cabbage patch are planning the first release on American soil of insects genetically engineered to die before they can reproduce.
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The moths have a synthetic "self-limiting" gene that makes their female larvae die before they mature. Lab-bred males are released to breed with wild females, reducing the population over time by suppressing reproduction.
"The key is to reduce the number of reproductive females in the next generation," Oxitec scientist Neil Morrison said.
The work has drawn criticism from organic farming organizations and groups opposed to the use of genetically modified organisms.
In comments to the USDA, GeneWatch U.K. said more information is needed on how the protein made by the moth's synthetic gene could affect wildlife that eats the insects.
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Could this be a test of a method to cull the human herd?
Even if it is not, we should be extremely uncomfortable with experiments which test "terminator genes" in the wild. How can we be certain these genes cannot cross over to other species?