Scientists hit back at anti-GM mosquito claims

| 15/06/2016 | 75 Comments
Cayman News Service

Zika, one of the diseases spread by the Aedes aegypti, is suspected of causing microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head

(CNS): As suspicions continue about the planned release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in a pilot project aimed at eradicating the invasive, disease-spreading Aedes aegypti, the MRCU and their partners in the project, the UK-based bio-technology firm Oxitec, have insisted the release is safe and that the recent adverts taken out by those opposing the project in the press are misleading the public. Responding to common questions and what they say are incorrect assertions by the group, who want the release postponed, scientists from the MRCU and Oxitec have outline more details about the release.

“Suppressing or even eradicating the non-native species Aedes aegypti will not have a harmful impact on the Cayman Islands ecosystem,” they wrote in the release responding to the claims of the anti-GM bug group. “In Cayman, assessments were conducted by the Departments of Agriculture and Environment. Since the implementation of the National Conservation Law it has been further reviewed by the National Conservation Council.”

Those opposing the release have implied that the US Food and Drug Administration have rescinded the approval for the use of such GM mosquitoes but Oxitec said this is not true. Ahead of the approval here from the PPM government, the FDA had published in March a preliminary finding of ‘No Significant Impact’ following a trial. It had concluded that the planned Florida trial would not have a negative impact on human health or the environment.

“The public consultation phase on this preliminary finding has recently finished and the final position of US FDA will be issued in due course. Nothing has been rescinded,” the scientists stated.

The scientists have caused controversy and have been fighting opposition to the release of their bio-engineered insects everywhere they have conducted trials and a key issue has been the release of female modified insects. In the latest release the scientists again insist that only a tiny fraction of the sterile insects released are female.

“Oxitec’s protocols are designed to minimise the likelihood of female release,” officials stated. “In the event female mosquitos were released, it is extremely unlikely that a released female of the Oxitec GM mosquitoes could survive long enough in the environment to spread disease because they only live 2-4 days and it takes 5-10 days to contract these viruses.”

While the project is stirring up concerns in Cayman as it has elsewhere, the government is among those that support the technology.

If the technique works and proves not to have any unexpected environmental impact in the longer term, the GM bugs not only propose a solution to the increasing resistance of one of the world’s most dangerous insects to existing insecticides, it could have significant green credentials. The lack of any chemical pollutants in the technology means that despite environmental fears, it could eventually prove to be the most environmentally safe way of eradicating the dangerous pest worldwide.

Those opposing the use of the GM insects worry about the long-term unintended consequences of releasing engineered species into the natural environment.

MRCU – Oxitec, GM Mosquito Fact Sheet

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Category: environmental health, Health, health and safety

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Over a fortnight ago I attended the West Bay meeting to introduce the public to the topic of releasing genetically-engineered mosquitoes. I went with an open mind and left thinking that the project seemed sound and therefore, supported this approach in favour of the chemical approach – insecticides. Notwithstanding concerns which were raised by some people (subsequently developing into a petition against the project), this approach seemed viable and, according to MRCU and Oxitec, was proven successful in Cayman some 6 – 7 years ago.

    However, I just watched an article on the subject on BBC which features scientists from Imperial College London, discussing the possibilities of genetically-engineered mosquitoes in eradicating disease-carrying mosquito species. Quite timely, I thought. However, a scientist from the acclaimed Imperial College acknowledged the concerns of persons who are skeptical of the concept of genetically-engineered mosquitoes and stated unequivocally that their research is ongoing as “it would be unethical to release mosquitoes until the research is proven”.

    This has me thinking that perhaps Oxitec’s & MRCU’s claims may be overstated or premature. There is no way that Oxitec would have reached a point of success (based on a seven year old application of their concept – their 2009 experiment in Grand Cayman) so as to now pursue that approach with confidence, while Imperial College London is still researching this subject and issuing cautions!! No doubt Imperial College is a more venerable institution than is Oxitec. So how is it that Oxitec is so far ahead of such a notable academic institution??

    This now has me wondering if my confidence in Oxitec’s and MRCU’s approach is misplaced.

    CNS- I appreciate that you’ve carried this story previously and it may now be “old news” but it is worth reviving the story to include a review of Imperial College London’s approach to, and the status of, this issue. This could certainly lend some credibility to those who’ve petitioned against the project and could have an impact on CI Government’s position to proceed despite the concerns expressed.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Link?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Whoever wrote this post thank you. Invaluable info. Please can you direct us to the link of the BBC article where it states the Scientists commentary “it would be unethical to release mosquitoes until the research is proven”.




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    • Paulo Andrade says:

      The mosquitoes discussed by the Imperial College scientists are also genetically modified, but use a radically different approach for population control, known as gene drive. Oxitec mosquitoes are much like common, irradiated insects for pest control. Concerns are very different in each case.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    More more thing. It is stated 3 out of 4 cases of dengue in Cayman were seen as success yet in Brazil it is stated that the reduction of the Aedes were seen yet no improvement or difference of Dengue cases were seen. Hence Brazil still has the same disease issue and this trial is only partially successful?




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    • Paulo Andrade says:

      It is not true that the release of Oxitec´s mosquitoes does not correlate with a decrease in new dengue cases: in Piracicaba city (São Paulo, Brazil) it is now obvious that a reduction in mosquito population is, as expected, accompanied by a sharp drcrease in dengue cases in the areas controlled by the transgenic mosquito.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    My understanding is 22 million mosquitoes are been used in a period of 9 months for West Bay only. Are you telling me we have pre-purchased 22 million to cover the whole island without first seeing the results in West bay? Slightly pre-mature thinking and action and heightened confidence of success! It seems minds are already made up to proceed throughout the island with a pre-purchase without proper valuation of results. A risky endeavour in itself. Again.. fools rush in.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    PS. the ‘fool’ who took the time to ask the real hard questions is the one who has shown some care to the big picture, since it is really fools who rush in is it not?




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Appendix – Correction to 3).
    Typo writing 3% left should be 4% from 96% reduction from this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPP-wr9qb24

    But then claims elsewhere in the media have been written of 80% reduction. In the video it states the experiment took place in 2012. In reality it took place in 2009 and 2010 and the people were informed of the experiment (without their knowledge) in 2012.

    Why suspicions are raised in public are due to misleading information in media about the true success of your trial. Conflicting information of the success of your trial understandably would create hesitation.

    I am still reeling over the fact I participated in an experimental trial I gave no consent to or had knowledge of in 2009/2010. Had I known this fact I could have made the informed decision to remove myself from the situation/environment and leave Cayman which I would have done. This choice was removed for me. This right was denied me. You lucky you didn’t get adverse effects since if it was revealed later likely there would be a law suite.

    The lack of respect for consent in the first trial is the issue. It is not a you versus me, me versus you thing. We both have the common goal of : ‘protecting the island and the best interests of the people’.

    It is in our common interest to work together and not be brute forced/bullied into something we are hesitant about and clearly have trust issues over. We merely don’t want a slap in the face round 3 trial.

    It is not the way to conduct business. It is not the way to achieve a successful outcome. There are no conspiracy theories here, just common sense questions which require straight forward, honest answers.

    We seem to hear the rehearsed, verbatim over, when other questions are ignored. The DNA, where is the article of scientific proof outside of taking your word for it that it is not transferred? Where is the answer to the questions on pregnant women? Where are the answers to the environmental and virus questions? You seem to have lost patience once your sheet of rehearsed answers is complete. I took the time to investigate, clearly we want answers.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear Oxitec, Government and MRCU,

    I would like honest and scientifically approved answers to these basic questions please : 

    1) In 2009 and 2010 you released 3.3 million GM mosquitoes in East End. 
    In 2009 were they the sterile insect technique version via radiation/chemicals or the new DNA modified version with herpes/ecoli that is currently spoken of? 

    2) You seem to indicate in this article you used the old sterile insect technique via radiation etc?

    https://www.caymancompass.com/2012/01/17/MRCU–Release-on-modified-mosquitoes–misleading-/

    3) How do you claim success in this 2009/10 trial at 96% reduction with just 3.3 million mosquitoes used, but we now need in 2016, 22 million (more than 7x the first amount) of GM mosquitoes to eradicate just the remaining 3% that you claim are left?

    Please explain? 

    4) Who is to say there was no adverse effects in East End? Hardly anyone lives there and those who do are tourists who come a few weeks or months at a time. There is really no real past success trial. To bring mosquitoes (who love people’s blood) in the heart of the population i.e. West Bay (close to SMB) is the real test to your claim of ‘causes no harm’ is it not? 

    5) I am afraid this article is a lie where it is stated ’The people living in the trial area were very pleased’. Please explain why this was said. It was not revealed to the people in Cayman at all and per the title it is clear it was a ‘secretive GM Mosquito trial’ that the people were only informed about a year later when you wanted to boast your success of that ‘secretive trial’. 
    http://www.genet-info.org/information-services/genetically-engineered-animals/ge-mosquitoes-cy/news/en/22907.html

    My question is why should we trust you now with your version of the facts when you have deceived us once before? 

    4) Have Oxitec already started the release this month June 2016 despite the objections of the people who live in Cayman and who it affects and who still have outstanding questions they want answered? 

    Please answer, have you begun your 3rd trial in Cayman again without the consent of our people, many of who are not feeling comfortable and at best feel exploited once again? 

    5) What is the rush of your pursuing this trial in Cayman in such a hurry, when we do not even have one case of Zika in Cayman? 

    Why are you not utilizing your trial in a country who is actually experiencing a Zika outbreak?

    Would it be because Oxitec are taking advantage of the lack of regulations in Cayman?

    6) Is it not counteractive to be purchasing mosquitoes in the millions and simultaneously fogging them down as normal. Seems rather a big waste of money and pointless.

    Please explain how this will save money in the long run and spare us disease?

    We still need to eradicate the other species of mosquitoes with spraying. 
    7) What is this currently costing the people – the 22 million mosquitoes purchased?
    What is the ongoing cost of the maintenance yearly?

    5) Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides so yes we all looking for alternatives as you state.

    However, since they became super insects who is to say they will not adapt and become resistant to your technology in the wild too?

    You cannot guarantee this since the lab and the wild are two very different kettles of fish. The lab is controlled. The wild has many factors at play and is not controllable.

    What is your reassurances on this matter aside from they are meant to die? What if they do not die as expected?

    6) If it happens that they do not die as predicted, what is your recourse to get rid of them? Spraying does not kill them easily as you know since they live in close proximity to humans, bite us in the day and need very little water to breed.

    I am in IT/Technology myself and we have 3 things as a rule.
    1) Implementation plan 2) Test Plan 3) Backup plan to reverse changes.
    It appears you have 1) and 2) where is and what is your 3? 

    7) We are told the GM DNA are fragments of ecoli, herpes virus and cabbage. It is a known fact that the herpes virus is also a cause of microcephaly in babies. 

    Is it possible that the ‘killing gene product’ from the transgenic mosquito may have been transferred into pregnant women, thereby causing microcephaly? Where is the proof this is NOT the case?

    8) Where is scientific due diligence of scenario of GM females (who get missed) and potentially bite PREGNANT humans? (I am assuming there is none at all, because a pregnant human could never be ethically tested/ used?).

    9) May I please see solid evidence that this GM DNA is not transferable to humans and even more importantly to a pregnant human hence affecting the growing fetus which is of most concern?

    What if this gene enters into people with potentially dangerous impacts? 

    According to this Scientific article (below) along with commentary from your Scientific peers, please explain your refuting of the comments that the gene is not transferable to humans?

    I understand you have different versions of your GM Mosquito but they all appear to use the piggbac transposon making gene therapy experiments possible.

    http://www.isis.org.uk/Beware_the_New_Breakthrough_Transgenic_Mosquitoes.php

    a) Oxitec used the PiggBac transposon in making the gene which is transferable to human cells… 
    b) “PiggBac a promiscuous transposon now used in gene therapy experiments.
    c) But the ill-advised Brazilian government has approved Oxitec’s transgenic mosquitoes for commercial release in April 2014.
    d) In terms of safety, the new sex distortion transgenic mosquito is no better and possibly worse. 
    e) It is important to note that the sex distortion is not complete, which means that a variable number of transgenic females will be left to bite people and transmit the potentially lethal transgenes into people’s cells.
    f) Transgenic mosquitoes are not the solution to eradicating dengue or malaria.
    g) On the contrary, they are among the most hazardous GMOs created, and should never be released into the wild on any commercial basis.
    h) Researchers should consider the risks involved before embarking on a project, and science journal editors and commentators should also question whether works for publications carry risks to health and the environment.”

    10) What concerns people the most are the microcephaly cases in Brazil. It appears there were many factors for a perfect recipe that made it very conducive for the virus and possibly the GM mosquito to mutate to create this result.

    As per the article in point 9) Brazil released GM mosquitoes in April 2014 (and had also done so for many years prior) to this. 9 months later women gave birth to malformed babies and had a Zika epidemic explode.

    There are many suspects or a combination which could have contributed i.e. the vaccine, illegal pesticides, foreigners and GM mosquitoes should not be discounted either. No one has the answer to this issue.

    However, Zika was not an issue with microcephaly cases before on this scale.

    Did GM mosquitoes DNA not combine with the virus in such a way that we have a new virus on our hands and a new STD via semen?

    The same vectors of DNA used in your mosquito to die off the offspring from achieving flight or maturity via sexual reproduction? The correlations with mosquito and current human issues are eerie.

    11) You have claimed success in Brazil with your GM mosquitoes there but I do not see it? People do not go there for fear of Zika and the population is suffering a crisis economically and health wise.

    Is Cayman not a test round 2 who could suffer the same fate and consequences as Brazil with many questions and no answers particularly around the real outcome of GM mosquitoes?

    12) Is it possible we brewed this recipe of disaster ourselves with all these elements? The proposed solution really been the root and cause?

    It appears we not only need a Scientist to be an etomologist, but more importantly a virologist to study what is really going on with the virus and possibly the GM mosquito combination.

    Do you have a virologist doing studies along with your GM Mosquitoes?

    13) I have concern about the residue of 22 million mosquito remnants in the environment and the ongoing millions that we will purchase year after year. Will these died off GM mosquitoes not accumulate in our environment and will the fragments of herpes virus/ ecoli not eventually contaminate our food and water supplies?

    This is a question for a Virologist and environmentalist. Viruses do survive in the environment and surfaces do they not?

    14) What about the risk of the accidental escape of dangerous viruses? i.e. ecoli and herpes virus?

    15) Again a question for an environmentalist versus an ectomologist.

    The use of tetracycline to feed GM mosquitoes in Oxitec’s mosquito factory would it not risk spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria into the environment, posing a risk to human health?

    16) The EC has urged each member country to produce legislation on this issue, but the UK still relies heavily on voluntary regulatory bodies. Is this why Cayman was chosen as a trial?

    17) Everyone would love to see the mosquito gone but it is sometimes easier to work with the known than the unknown.

    I understand you have tested GM mosquitoes interbred with GM female and wild male and future generations. Have you however tested the different mutations with the possibility of the different strains of viruses also mutating with these different GM /natural combinations?

    What we working with now is one set of mosquito DNA that we know. With different strains of mosquito surely we could end up with different strains of the virus making the cure impossible via vaccine?

    18) Unfortunately we have no recourse if they are released in the wild since we can’t recall them and as they breed and interbreed we really do not have control anymore do we?

    19) Cayman doesn’t currently have Zika. We enjoy the outdoors and beach with no real annoyance of mosquitoes to date due to fogging on SMB. However, 22 million mosquitoes is going to be noticed. People will be swatting these pests and running indoors surely to escape the sudden influx of these pests.

    It may be a short term annoyance if you successful, but if you not it is going to be hard to be rid of as it currently is to date.

    It is thought pesticides are causing the high incidence of cancer (even birth defects) on island already. Who is to say if this experiment went wrong that we would have a very big problem on our hands to rid ourselves of them in the instance they managed to live.

    20) The unwarranted risk of Point 19 is the whole island would be devastated from expats leaving, banking (we the 5th largest centre in the world for banking), tourism, real estate and all business on the island been removed and taken away in a short time. No one would risk their health for any reason.

    Who will help the local Caymanians and where will they turn to? The poorer communities do not have full time air conditioning and proper net screens.

    Who will take care of Cayman? No one is helping Brazil and they left holding babies who need full time care.

    Zika is scary yes, but there is also evidence not all cases of microcephaly had the Zika virus, which brings me back to is Zika really the media scare it is made out to be or is there more to this story like combination of GM insects with a new strain of the virus?

    21) Why take a risk and gamble that is unwarranted? There is no Zika here currently and no huge danger to warrant such a drastic measure with so much at stake to lose as a large financial centre. 
     
    22) Please take a full POLL from ALL residents who live in Cayman who can rather vote and see the percentage of who is against and for GM Mosquitoes. That is the only fair assessment of the people’s wishes where their lives will be affected.

    23) This links provides some history of us in Cayman and Oxitec and it is not all good to read as you will have us believe.

    http://www.genet-info.org/information-services/genetically-engineered-animals/ge-mosquitoes-cy.html

    24) These are peer reviews and articles from third parties who are exercising caution. We would like to as well. If you don’t like it, then take this somewhere else. We need answers to questions.

    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Beware_the_New_Breakthrough_Transgenic_Mosquitoes.php

    https://umaincertaantropologia.org/2016/02/02/the-controversy-about-the-relationship-between-gm-mosquitoes-and-the-zika-virus-outbreak-in-brazil/
     
    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987024/pandoras_box_how_gm_mosquitos_could_have_caused_brazils_microcephaly_disaster.html
     

    25) Finally what is the moral and ethic clause for genetic modification if it is against the faith / religion of the people of Cayman? Cayman is a very Christian community and island, was this ever an issue of consult?

    22) We like the good intentions and of course everyone would like to eliminate disease and pests, however at what cost and what result and to the demise of which countries till we get it right?

    We have not got a good track record of plants to date, who can say we can master something as complex as the most dangerous and deadliest animal on the planet that is so tiny yet has had the upper hand for so long?

    Romans 1:22-23 
    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    Kind Regards
    KM




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    • Anonymous says:

      let me attempt to answer your questions….

      1. (Answers to 1 & 2 appearing to ask the same question) The article you reference says “The technique isn’t new and the difference now is the insects are made sterile by genetics as opposed to chemicals or radiation.” SIT is done through genetics in this case. One block was where the GMM method was introduced, while nothing was done in another block. A third block was used to monitor the natural population of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. SO ANSWER TO #1 is NO RADIATION used, only the GMM which is to date on its 200th generation since 2009 with no adverse effects observed.

      3. The required amount of GMM release is determined by the size of the area being treated and the population levels of wild AE mosquitos observed. Mosquitos will travel 400 yards in their lifetime. They are highly localized so a wider disbursal is going to require far more GMM than needed for a small block. Any test area’s remaining population post treatment would need to be handled as a smaller issue entirely, but treatment should continue during observed hatchings since eggs may lay dormant for up to 12 months. The GMM eradication effort is not a permanent need, and should greatly be reduced over time.

      4. Harm can not be done to animals or humans. The GMM will die off within days. Any bites from a GMM female are identical effect to a Wild AE which are present until eradication. GMM dont live long enough to ingest, infect themselves then transmit disease through their saliva, that would take 5-10 days and they die in 2-4.

      5. I have been following the Cayman project for quite some time on the internet. The secretive nature you speak of doesn’t appear to match with available articles and press releases. Maybe nobody asked you, but elected officials with the power to make public health decisions have been fully involved.

      6. Exploits or protection from an epidemic and disease? Secrets or is this just paranoia?

      7. Spraying does not impact wild AE populations as you would hope. They prefer indoors and hunt during the day (spraying is usually done at dusk because if you spray in the heat of the day, the hot air rising brings the insecticide fog up high into the atmosphere away from the insects, ineffective)

      8. No mosquito lives longer than 2 weeks. GMM are self limiting. Ceasing dispersal ceases their presence in the environment within days.

      9. This is standing scientific fact, DNA is not transmitted.

      10. Brazil was initially a test neighborhood of 5000 residents for reduction of dengue. base year showed 186 Dengue cases, GMM year showed 7 cases, the trial was a success. As for GMM spread of microcephaly country-wide NO. The current hypothesis is that Zika infections began as a result of travel to brazil from Asia/Africa when they hosted the World cup 2 years ago. Infections spread across a wide distribution over time but the epidemic was not centered around a small oxitec test neighborhood 100 miles from Rio. It actually hit hardest in southern brazil.

      11. Brazil is moving from small test neighborhood of 5000 people, to now 60000 city, to start a 300,000 person coverage project soon. As you observed it takes A LOT of GMM to cover any region and they are slowly coming online to help fight off the wild AE mosquito population there. Proven to work, risks are not evident.

      I could go on, but I’m growing weary of typing. You exhibit a little paranoia over this and I hope the info above (readily available online and through recorded presentations) will help calm your fears.




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      • Katina Masura Anglin says:

        Help me with this please and then I will ask the other questions in mind:

        Were there any laboratory tests in which the mosquito(s) lived longer than the 2-4 days to 2 weeks? It must be costly for you to keep replenishing such a quickly extinquishing creature?

        Isn’t Zika a water disease, also linked to decrepid conditions?

        Aren’t there studies that suggest that micro is linked to chemical poisoning used against mossies and other pests?

        Can you direct me to the report that conclusively connects Zika to Micro?

        Can you direct me to the independent report that conclusively links GMM’s to the reduction in Zika? Pardon my ignorance, but if there are other methods of transmittance, I could be throwing money down the drain if the GMM’s are not the most viable approach to the disease. I hope you understand.

        If mossies travel only 400 yds in their lifetime, how did the aA get here from Africa?

        Where is the empirical data that proves that I stand no chance of adverse effects of the GMM in this environment? (Again, I ask your pardon as this might not be existent, requiring multiple studies in the same environment to determine this, which has not been done and this is actually another experiment hoping to achieve this.)

        In the MRCU FOI reports is a document, 29578, that uses the words “experiment” and “research”. It’s fair to say then that when the mossies were released in 2009 and 2010 Oxitec was not releasing GMM’s that they were already knowledged in the outcome of but were in fact conducting an experiment on the people of East End?

        You say that the DNA is not transferred; in other words the genes are not passed on. But in an interview this is what is said by Dr. Nimmo:

        http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bugbitten/2016/02/12/interview-derric-nimmo-head-public-health-research-oxitec/

        “Well, what happens is that those insects that survive, they emerge and still carry the gene, and if they mate they still pass on that gene to the offspring and the offspring dies. Although you will have to remember that the original offspring will only carry one copy of the gene, so only half their offspring will die.”

        These aren’t words by anyone else but Oxitec…I’m quite sure that there are other contradictions that I can use your own words to contradict you on, but I’ll hold it for now…Awaiting your answers. Choose your words carefully. And don’t try to mislead me. I’m only using your own information. And not hiding behind “Anonymous”.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Did my best….

          Were there any laboratory tests in which the mosquito(s) lived longer than the 2-4 days to 2 weeks?

          ***My information is that the survivability outside the lab is 2-4 days. Without tetracycline the GMM will die. I think you’re looking for a “gotcha” here, as if randomly experiencing a few additional days alive certifies the pest control method is a threat. To counter that assertion know this, once the GMM treatment begins the population of wild AE mosquitos will begin to crash in the short term. The drop off comes from the lack of additional larvae growing to adulthood & replacing their parents who die off within weeks. Even if a GMM persisted randomly (at a low percentage to release count) for a few days more, the die-off rate of the total population is far greater than the extra day or two a low percentage of GMM surviving beyond expectations would re-populate. The GMM need tetracycline to live.

          It must be costly for you to keep replenishing such a quickly extinquishing creature?
          ***The GMM are kept alive to breed and prepare for deployment in the lab by being fed tetracycline in their diet, it is an antidote to their genetic self limitation. The cost estimates I’ve heard are $7 USD per person per year. I’ve also read that Oxitec is proceeding initially in a cost sharing program with municipalities. The cost of fully commercialized GMM treatment is estimated to be on-par with what is normally budgeted for spraying and trapping (as testified before US congress in late May 2016)

          Isn’t Zika a water disease, also linked to decrepid conditions?
          ***AE Mosquitos breed in small amounts of water, common reference is (liquid amount inside a bottle cap) is all they need. Zika is a virus that survives in animal/human hosts for long as 6 months. Zika doesn’t need mosquitos to exist, it can be passed person to person through blood transfusion or as a STD. It survives in urine, blood and semen. The virus has been found to preferentially target the placenta in pregnant women where 1000 times the viral count was found there vs. within the blood stream of the same host.

          Aren’t there studies that suggest that micro is linked to chemical poisoning used against mossies and other pests? Can you direct me to the report that conclusively connects Zika to Micro?
          *** http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/science/a-window-into-the-workings-of-zika.html?_r=0

          *** http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1601824#t=article

          Can you direct me to the independent report that conclusively links GMM’s to the reduction in Zika? Pardon my ignorance, but if there are other methods of transmittance, I could be throwing money down the drain if the GMM’s are not the most viable approach to the disease. I hope you understand.

          ***Stopping the spread of zika requires great lengths of control avoiding sexual transmission and monitoring of the blood supply. Without limiting the number of hosts, the spread of the virus will continue for years to come, & that may already be the case anyway. Random infection though, via an insect vector (AE mosquitos) is something far more difficult to control with the low rate of efficacy from spraying and trapping. Zika virus HAS been found in trapped wild AE mosquitos which proved it is a zika vector. Reducing the population of Vectors reduces the rate of random infection (GMM will cause 80%+ wild AE reduction with remaining % controllable to elimination). The AE feed many times in a single day and bite multiple hosts, once their saliva is infected they convey the virus to high numbers of victims. I know the testing for dengue in the Oxitec neighborhood dropped the year over year Dengue case load from 186 to 7. Eliminate the vector and eliminate random infection.

          If mossies travel only 400 yds in their lifetime, how did the aA get here from Africa?
          ***I was wrong with “400” yards. Its actually 200 yards. Please remember, zika is an animal/human host virus, AE mosquitos are just a vector of transmission. Nothing stops a human from buying a plane ticket and traveling the world, when they get where they can get bitten by a vector or have sexual relations and the virus spreads. Although during the Ebola breakouts a Host could be prevented from flying if they had a high fever… 80% of zika infected show no symptoms so they freely travel the world.

          Where is the empirical data that proves that I stand no chance of adverse effects of the GMM in this environment? (Again, I ask your pardon as this might not be existent, requiring multiple studies in the same environment to determine this, which has not been done and this is actually another experiment hoping to achieve this.)
          *** I defer to the finding of no significant impact from the FDA, 5000 person test neighborhood (and now 60,000 person city center) in Brazil, tests in panama, tests in malaysia, Cayman, etc. These mosquitos are no different from wild AE you see, except they carry a color marker and a self terminating gene that uses tetracycline as an antidote. Other than that they are the same bugs you’ve always known.

          In the MRCU FOI reports is a document, 29578, that uses the words “experiment” and “research”. It’s fair to say then that when the mossies were released in 2009 and 2010 Oxitec was not releasing GMM’s that they were already knowledged in the outcome of but were in fact conducting an experiment on the people of East End?

          ***I can only guess that they were knowledgeable on the expected outcome of a SIT approach, but your question is unclear.

          You say that the DNA is not transferred; in other words the genes are not passed on. But in an interview this is what is said by Dr. Nimmo:
          http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bugbitten/2016/02/12/interview-derric-nimmo-head-public-health-research-oxitec/

          *** so you are assuming this is an issue that GMM are going to feed on cat food in high numbers and persist? I can’t find a reason to count this as a material nominal amount, my opinion is the 99.999% will not encounter the cat food scenario, moreso the populations of wild AE will crash and vector transmission of zika dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever will dissipate.

          In no way did I attempt to mislead, being open with publicly available information, hope your fears have been moderated a bit. I’ll remain anonymous due to the heated debate and suspicious paranoia surrounding this simple application of pest control, but I do not work for any related corporate or government interests, just a private citizen.




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          • Anonymous says:

            I have been researching and following Zika since it broke out and before Cayman’s announcement to use GMM as a tool. My gut all along was the GM DNA was the issue as piggbac transporon says i can transfer to mammals. It is not just a regular bite for a PREGNANT human! Mosquito semen versus human semen. Stunted growth of mosquito embryo and stunted growth of human embroyo. This is the article you want to read and I want to see how this evidence could be refuted. The solution is the cause!

            http://www.rense.com/general96/cdc_oxford.html




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        • Anonymous says:

          Wha a mess these officials running the place is making.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m pretty sure I can answer #3, the reduction in numbers would only refer to the specific area that they were released in, obviously not the whole island as they only have a short range…just hoping these neutered mossi’s are better than DDT.




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    • Jupiter Jack says:

      Sounds like you either got fired from MRCU or you wished you worked there.




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  7. anonymous says:

    What scientists? Corporate fraudulent scientists? The whole Zika thing andits connection to birth defects is so murky.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Every product you purchase in a market was created and commercialized by corporate scientists. So you’ll open a box and consume the contents, pop the lid off a sprayer and mist liquids all over yourself or your home, wash your clothes in a slurry from a bottle, pop pills from a pharmacy…. but a scientist who is preventing the spread of disease is a fraud? Not so.




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    • Think of all possibilities says:

      You can’t possibly be serious. This is not even debatable anymore. Stop being so anti-science, and anti-FACTS!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, it’s not murky at all, and very well documented. There are different strains of the virus – just as there are different strains of the flu or common cold, which are also viruses. Modern lab advances, ie. reliable and efficient gene sequencing, has drawn a new correlation to cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome and Zika infection. That is the only new phenomenon. Gene sequencing single-strand RNA viruses is easier now and that’s just a fact.

      Zika was first identified in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947 in monkeys – a new strain of Zika was later identified in humans in 1952. The first large outbreak of disease caused by Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap, Micronesia in 2007 with cases of microcephaly. The virus moved from south-east Asia across the Pacific. During a 2013-14 outbreak in French Polynesia, the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome was linked to Zika infection. In South America, the first reports of locally transmitted infection came from Brazil in May 2015. In July 2015 Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and GBS. In October 2015 Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.

      The long history and origin of Zika has nothing to do with Oxitec. It’s understandable that there may be some people that are not familiar with the history and the newish link to neurological disorders, but now you know. If you want to know more, there was a research bulletin put out by the World Health Organization that explains the whole timeline: http://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/16-171082/en/




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    • Anonymous says:

      9:50am. Agree.Industry uses science to publicize the results they want.

      Sound scientific research should publish all the results from any given study, not only those that paint industry in a favorable light. But it’s common practice for negative or neutral study results to be left unpublished while favorable results get published.




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      • Paulo Andrade says:

        This is not true: favorable and unfavorable results are published. Don´t try to paint scientists as bandits or half idiots.




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  8. Unison says:

    You know what is a serious matter? The way this is done. These experiments are being pushed on us without our consent! The Premier has not even made a public consultation or statement. And experiment sets us up for other experiments without us being properly inform.

    The way this is done is not good :/




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    • Katina Masura Anglin says:

      You are so right!

      The violations of informed consent are paramount to this release.

      I think they may have crossed the right to conceal details for confidentiality purposes for national security, with the right to ensure informed consent.

      But, because this may very welll be a matter relating to health and medicine as well and not just a matter relating only to environment, every human being in this country has the right to know how it’s created/processed, how it’s deployed and what risks/benefits/outcomes are expected.

      We most certainly have not had that opportunity to question and most certainly were not properly advised by the prescribed method.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    CNS you have been on the wrong side of this issue from the start and your reporting has intentionally fanned peoples’ unreasoning fears. You have equated obvious bullshit with actual science and have treated the GM risk as equal to the Zika risk. Bad job.




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    • anonymous says:

      No, CNS was and is not on the wrong side. Corporate tactics at its best- frighten people into behaviour that gives them money.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you, I was going to say this as well. Last paragraph CNS shows their intention to keep validating the tin foil hat theorists like the hippie Genewatch cat lady with the doctorate in unrelated field, and the fool that spent their whole morning penning a 5000 word 23 point questionnaire with conspiracy web links and Biblical quotes. Even without Zika, there seems to be an unique and virulent strain of adult-onset microcephaly striking everywhere.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Based on comments on other threads; are smaller brains even a problem to fear here?




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  11. Anonymous says:

    It is enough already. Take a POLL for the public to vote on who is against and for GM mosquitoes and that will be a fair assessment on what the country should do if Oxitec has not already gone ahead with the release as planned this month despite many objections.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Is there a poll to determine whether children get vaccinated or not? Is there a poll to see who is in favor of putting down a rabid dog? Your opinion is your own, but the public good demands action.




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      • Anonymous says:

        mm.. vaccination and a rabies dog is individual and unlikely to be widespread. We talking about mosquitoes here that could kill you daily and affect an entire community and country. Hardly any comparison. And yes I am entitled to know what my body and health is subject to and if I don’t like it yes I will leave. But what about those who cannot and have to just live with the outcome be it positive or negative. That is not fair.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    I wish Trump was our Premier… I mean West Bay was already full of gangsters and now they have mutant mosquitoes! BUILD the damn wall!!




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  13. Anonymous says:

    You know what is funny.. With no offense to anyone or what they believe about this whole thing. But Microsephaly was first recorded back in medievial days and has been somthing uncommonly spoken of in the modern world.. Im not sayin this zika thing is not real im just hopefull every case of microsephaly isnt blamed on it now tho because one thing i do believe is that most of society gets paranoid very easily about these “media scares” that may we hopefully forget about by the next few months (because it may not be that horrific as many think) but this is reality and whatever has to be done should be done. Just if you agree with this whole shinnaniguns dont be the one to complaine when crap hits the fan sorry 2 late.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    Play with fire and you will get burnt. The intentions are good, but Zika is not the cause, GM insects are the problem, it is all a farce.

    Matthew 15:13

    He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.

    Romans 1:22-23

    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    Deuteronomy 22:9

    “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole yield be forfeited, the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t we want the whole crop to be forfeit? The idea is to kill off the mosquitos. Your problems with the GM mosquitos don’t seem reasonable.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Great, I like the last one, official approval that wine is good for you. We should have lots and decide the mosquito fait.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Is this post playful sarcasm, or is someone seriously quoting the Bible as a mosquito management option?




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Who is to say there was no adverse effects in East End? Hardly anyone lives there and those who do are tourists who come a few weeks or months at a time. The REAL field trial is NOW. There is no past success field trial. This is what this one is all about. Bring many mosquitoes (that love only people’s blood) to the heart of a population and THEN evaluate the results based on their ‘prediction’ of ’causes no harm’. Perhaps we should ask a Psychic of the outcome as that is as reliable as what the prediction of the Scientists are giving at the moment from lab to the wild. Scientist or fortune teller neither can be trusted with their ‘predictions’. We just don’t know till it is in the wild and if the mosquitoes will adapt. They became super insects from insecticides already, who is to say they won’t resist this technology. DNA is also fragments of the herpes virus which actually also causes microcephaly in babies. And what about the residue of 22 million mosquitoes remnants in the environment with the herpes virus/ ecoli going in our food and water supplies? What about the accidental escape of dangerous viruses? The EC has urged each member country to produce legislation on this issue, but the UK still relies heavily on voluntary regulatory bodies. And the constant need to keep buying and destroying these mosquitoes via fogging, seems pointless. They have not thought this through at all! And finally where is the ethic and moral clause i.e. is genetic modification not against the faith / religion of the people in Cayman? That should be enough to drive Oxitec out of there and say no to Government to allow this.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Your fears and dislike of mosquito control seem unreasonable.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Unreasonable really? Look at the state that Brazil is in who has had continuously released GM Mosquitoes over a period of a few years. No one wants to go there and the population is suffering. This will be the fate of Cayman if they can’t heed the first example given.. Hardly unreasonable in my eyes. Learn from the first mistake, don’t go for round 2.




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        • Anonymous says:

          I believe that there has only been one release in Brazil to date, but others are imminent. You should bear in mind that the conspiracy theorists claimed that the sudden rise in dengue in a neighbouring area to the first release in Brazil was due to the release of GM mossies. Unfortunately for them, they started claiming that around 6 months BEFORE the actual release. They had mistaken the announcement of a future trial for an announcement that the trial had actually started (though if you had actually read the announcement, it was quite clear what it said).




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          • Anonymous says:

            Wrong, Brazil has had several releases prior to 2014. They have just done them in different areas over the years. Much what is now going to happen to Cayman.




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    • anonymous says:

      Thank you 4.52am. Very good points. Don’t become unwitting guinea pigs. Have the premier sign a liability clause. In case of any consequences to people’s health CIG will assume full responsibility. He clearly demonstrated with the Dump, he cares less about your health.




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  16. Anonymous says:

    Just wait until a 100 pound mutant ninja mosquito sucks a few cattle dry. Then maybe CIG will listen.




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    • Anonymous says:

      If it sucked a cow dry it would probably be a 300 pound mosquito and I would so like to own it, take it for walks, let it loose in the LA for a few minutes…




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Every time I read Oxitec’s and now MRCU’s responses I want to puke!

    This deceptive spin and total “pull the wool” over our eyes approach is the greatest insult to the Caymanian people. No amount of twisting from the facts will ever take away from:

    1) Their scarcity with the facts and truth
    2) That the people of Cayman (camanian and non-Caymanian, visitors and all who live here or visit here during this release) are human test-subjects!

    How telling are these words in the substantive article above: “If the technique works and proves not to have any unexpected environmental impact in the longer term, the GM bugs not only propose…”

    Wow! So the Caymanian people are now subjected to a “IF” proposition. Yet they are here talking about “NOT HARMFUL?!”

    One last thing, from everything I have read in research on this matter, including the questions and concerns raised in that Environmental Assessment from FDA, GENEWATCH in the UK and countless scientific peer assessments leads me to conclude that Oxitec’s “technology” is not all A-Okay or certainly that they have much more work to do. But that is just it…that’s why Cayman’s human test subjects fits the bill.

    The people of West Bay and Cayman for that matter, are being demanded to endure an experiment that we never gave our consent on. I so dislike the government right now.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you even understand what you are saying. Cayman Islands is a perfect location for the release and study. If it works here it could save lives…stop being so self centered…what would Jesus do. Ignorance is a very scary thing,,,get over it. I live in West Bay and I am tired of being eaten alive by these disease carrying pests. If there is a way to eradicate them why would you not want that. Invasive species have been sent all over the world…(Frogs Birds etc) to try to get rid of them. why not try something new….oh wait…




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      • Anonymous says:

        You are not worth answering about you from WB.




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      • Anonymous says:

        So maybe it works To eradicate Zika. But has other side effects. That makes it ok? Now we have an even higher cancer population or other mutations. That’s ok?




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    • Anonymous says:

      You mean every time someone presents facts and exercises common sense you want to puke? Get a grip.




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    • Mustafa says:

      This a CIA plot, they are genetically modified to be gay Christian mosquitos and God help you if you’re bitten!
      PS They are easy to identify, they all answer to the name of Anthony and have bald heads.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Field test of 5000 person neighborhood in Brazil was a resounding success. Wild mosquito populations dropped more than 80%. Expansion of the Oxitec solution is now covering a city center of 60,000 there, and a facility is being constructed to produce enough GMM to protect an area of 300,000 people. You are not facing the unknown, it is proven science having predictable results & being deployed for your protection.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    OX513A. This male Mosquito is created by injecting very small amounts of synthetic DNA into thousands of mosquito eggs until finally one of the eggs accepts the DNA into its genome, creating two genes. One is a lethal gene, synthesized from E. coli and the herpes simplex virus. It’s lethal because it creates a protein called tTAV which interferes with a cell’s activity, killing the infected mosquito before it can reach adulthood.

    http://investmentwatchblog.com/anti-zika-gmo-mosquitos-injected-with-herpes-and-e-coli/




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  19. Anonymous says:

    I insist my farts don’t smell but my wife says they do. Donald Trump insists he is right, despite being a racist bigot. Anthony Eden insists he is a Christian, albeit not in the “Love they neighbor, love all men” sense despite the good word indicating we should not judge others and we should love all. The USFDA is clearly better funded than our own people, so why are we not listening?




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  20. Anonymous says:

    then release them in Little Cayman.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    wasn’t agent orange safe too?




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  22. Unison says:

    Hello MLAs! Even if this scientific experiment in the Cayman Islands become successful and gives you all fame… you the MLAs will be paving the way for other experimentations to be done upon the people of these islands!

    You will be setting a bad precedent for further experimentations upon us!

    This testings could have been done somewhere else. But something in my gut feeling tells me, you are either looking monies or fame. Suppose something goes wrong with this trail…

    And don’t come with the excuse that its to save us from the Zika mosquitoes, because we had Chikungunya, and survive and that died away!

    Again, you are setting us up! You are not “asking questions” Alden! Hello! You are not scientists! :/




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  23. Anonymous says:

    Ahead of the approval here from the PPM government, the FDA had published in March a preliminary finding of ‘No Significant Impact’ following a trial. It had concluded that the planned Florida trial would not have a negative impact on human health or the environment.

    “The public consultation phase on this preliminary finding has recently finished and the final position of US FDA will be issued in due course. Nothing has been rescinded,” the scientists stated.

    …why are we jumping the gun then and should we not wait for the final FDA position to be released PRIOR to introducing the programme here.




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  24. SSM345 says:

    What happens if something that these experts claim won’t happen, happens?

    Its a test they are conducting, plain and simple and we all know that you can be prepared for a test but when you take it something comes out of nowhere causing unforeseen results.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What will happen if no action is taken? Zika will spread faster to more people and mosquitos will randomly infect pregnant women. 80% of those infected have no symptoms. Bodily fluids of infected still test positive for the virus after 6 months. The virus will become a leading issue of local health for years to come and Cayman babies will be destroyed in the womb.

      The risk is insignificant, the results are necessary.




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      • Anonymous says:

        You mean the Zika that we don’t have? Get real. If you want to introduce Zika, introduce GM insects with additional viruses inserted in them.




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  25. Anonymous says:

    I’d rather see a dibilitating prenatal threat lessened and risk small issues with the mosquitos than chance dozens of births defects through zika any day.




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  26. Anonymous says:

    What about the smarty pants scientists that told us…

    “Butter is bad for you, you must eat margarine.”

    Now we all know that margarine is a chemical pile of poo and real butter is way healthier.

    Scientists make claims which they backtrack on all the time. Why should we trust that these ones are different?




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  27. Anonymous says:

    Delaying oxitec’s release of their GM solution puts unborn caymans at risk. The basic role of Government to protect the public, let them do their job.




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