Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in the US! - Episode 47

Listen to the Podcast:

In this week's episode...

The South Florida/Keys mosquito control board is planning to vote on August 18th to allow for the release of 500,000,000 genetically modified mosquitoes as a mosquito abatement campaign.

The stated purpose of the release is to reduce the population of a small subset of natural mosquitoes by causing their female larvae to die. But based on past releases of mosquitoes by the same company, Oxitec, their technology probably won’t work at all.

Furthermore, even though Oxitec claimed that its mosquitoes would simply die out after the experiment was over, studies proved them wrong. They permanently altered the genetic makeup of natural mosquitoes, which could have serious consequences for health and the environment.

To learn more and to donate to the Stop GMM campaign go to:
http://stopgmm.com/

The Institute for Responsible Technology is working to protect you & the World from GMOs (and while we’re at it, Roundup®...)  To find out exactly how we do this and to subscribe to our newsletter visit https://www.responsibletechnology.org/

Notes for this week's Podcast
This week's Transcript

ROUGH TRANSCRIPT:

Speaker 2: (00:08)
This is Jeffrey Smith with the Institute for responsible technology there. Right now, the South Florida, the Florida keys mosquito control board is planning to vote on August 18th to allow for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the keys, you can go to stop GMM for genetically modified mosquitoes. Stop gmm.com and read why this could be a disaster. And please go to stop gmm.com and make a donation so that we can immediately mobilize with our best efforts, the tourist industry and the citizens in South Florida to stop this potential catastrophe, we're also producing a short film and please check back like the page at [inaudible] the Facebook page, the Institute for responsible technology, so that you can be receiving this video and sharing it with your friends or subscribe at the Institute for responsible technology. And now I will tell you why it is so important that we stop genetically modified mosquitoes.

Speaker 2: (01:30)
I think that there is an immediate yuck factor. The idea that they're going to genetically engineer mosquitoes that will end up biting humans. And part of that saliva is going to mix with our blood and who knows what's going to happen next first, I will tell you the reason why they, the Florida keys mosquito control board is planning to do this. It's not the first time that genetically modified mosquitoes were released. It happened in Panama, happened in Malaysia, Brazil, and in the Cayman islands, a company called Oxitec genetically modified mosquitoes so that the offspring would be sterile. In fact, in this case, their version is that the offspring would not pass under past the larva stage so that they, they wanted to release males, which don't bite to mate with females, which do so that the offspring would die. And they would reduce the population of a particular mosquito called the ATUs Egypt. And that's the mosquito that carries Dane gate fever, which is a disease and Zika, which many people know about. And there are other techniques that have been known to be successful, that don't involve genetic engineering for those that want to look it up well back Wolbachia, and you don't have to look it up. You can go to stop gmm.com to find some information there.

Speaker 2: (03:04)
Now in three of the four countries where Oxitec released its mosquitoes, they were kicked out. It didn't work and Cayman islands, they kept saying, Oh, it worked. And they want to release it beyond the practice stage, beyond the test trial stage and inundate the entire Island. And we were involved at the Institute for responsible technology with people on the ground doing freedom of information requests. And we revealed that their trial was a disaster. It did not work. And so they were forced to do another trial. And before we knew it, they Oxitec quietly left the Island and fired all of its employees. Why? Because the trial did not work. We've also caught Oxitec lying over and over again. Their favorite lie was that they were only releasing the non biting males. Well, they have a sorting mechanism and it's not perfect. Not only that it's a disaster, they released a lot of biting females and some of the offspring of the mating between the genetically engineered males and the natural females ends up with survival surviving offspring on average, 3% in the presence of tetracycline, 15 to 18% survive.

Speaker 2: (04:30)
Now I'm going to tell you a little bit about the dangers, but in the context of a discussion I had in January of 2014, I was invited by campaigners in Florida to go down and testify at the Florida keys, mosquito control board. And also there was Derek MIMO, a senior scientist at Oxitec who had decades of experience with genetically engineered mosquitoes. And he testified. And afterwards, I asked Derek, I said, Derek, you're making a decision now that can change the gene pool of mosquitoes forever. And he said, Oh no, no, only 3% survive. And they're going to die off. And I said, but also the presence of text recycling, they had a tech, they had a test where there was some cat food nearby and the, the insects, we have a cat food. And evidently there was tech recycling in the cat food was the theory.

Speaker 2: (05:29)
And 18% survivors said, Oh, the chances of that happening are minuscule, but it eventually will die off. He was 100% sure without any doubt that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes would never change the gene pool. And as soon as they stopped releasing them, the genetically engineered mosquito influence would be done well, tragically. He was wrong. And I was right because researchers in Brazil for, for period of time, up to three years after their release tested mosquito populations, it found up to 60% of the natural mosquitoes. Now had genes that have been contributed by Oxitec Frank and sex either genetically modified mosquitoes and because they were hybrids and they weren't just the Brazilian variety, they were the two varieties that were cobbled together for oxygen, text version based or buys in the paper that these mosquitoes would have hybrid vigor, which is something you see in organisms that are the result of wide crosses.

Speaker 2: (06:43)
They get some of the benefits in both, and they wondered out loud in this peer reviewed published paper, whether these mosquitoes would be harder to kill. So now they've created a new mosquito problem. We don't know if they're harder to kill. We don't know if they're more likely to carry diseases. We do know that Oxitec did not plan for it. Never did proper testing and ignored all of this environmental problems. Like if they were successful in lowering the population of the atheist, Egypt died a different type of mosquito. The aid is albopictus tiger. Mosquito could come in and take up the ecological niche and that's even more aggressive. So they could actually increase the problem. They did not address the fact that they drench their mosquitoes and tetracycline as part of the process, long story, we don't have to go into it. And that that process could result in antibiotic resistant diseases, which result in over 50,000 deaths a year and otherwise unnecessary amputations.

Speaker 2: (07:52)
So they could be spreading super diseases. And at this time we don't need that to be happening, but there was another thing that I brought up to Derek Nimo after we agreed to disagree on the possibility that the mosquitoes would permanently change the gene pool. But again, tragically, I was right and he was wrong. Here's the other things I said, Derek, have you ever tested the saliva of the mosquitoes that you're releasing? I remember the saliva enters the bloodstream. The saliva ends up circulating in the humans that are, and he said, we are just, now that was the worst. We are just now doing a study to see if the protein produced by the gene that they inserted is found in the saliva. So in other words, their genetic engineering inserted a gene. It produces a protein there. What they were going to see if that protein was found in the saliva, which means it could be circulating in the bloodstream funerals.

Speaker 2: (09:01)
And I thought to myself, it's a little late Derek. I didn't say this out loud. You've already released millions upon millions of mosquitoes exposing the population of four countries. And you never once checked to see if the saliva contained the protein, but I knew he was actually doing the wrong test. So I said, you know, Derek, the process of genetic engineering creates massive collateral damage. And I explained there was a peer reviewed study that was published on a human cell, was the cystic fibrosis study. They took a human cell inserted. They single gene, and they tested to see the expression levels of the other genes in the human DNA cell and human DNA in the cell. And they found that up to 5% of the genes changed their levels of expression, some turned on for the first time. So shut off completely others like turning dials on a, on a dinner switch, turning up and down some at a very high level.

Speaker 2: (10:13)
Some at very low levels, completely unpredictable, completely as a side effect of the process of genetic engineering and rarely done this study was rarely done. So the scientists were shocked at the impact of the single inserted gene, because they had drunk the Koolaid thinking there would be no problem. You can just add as the biotech industry proponents, like to say, it's like just cutting and pasting a page into a book. Everybody that you're shooting the rest of the book with a machine gun and changing its expressions. So I said to Derek, after I explained this receipt research, I said, shouldn't you be testing the composition of the full composition of this mosquito saliva and not just looking for the presence of a single new gene, new protein. And I will never forget his response. He said, good idea to paraphrase from Dave Berry. This is the brain cell behind the genetically modified mosquitoes.

Speaker 2: (11:24)
It's absolutely a disaster waiting, waiting to happen. Now there was a study that was done last year, showing that when crops were introduced, they were genetically engineered. Oftentimes in the next generation, there were changes that were never found or predictable, and some became more prolific, some changed their qualities. But we do know that insects that are genetically engineered can change their gene expression. In subsequent generations, I spoke to one entomologist who had genetically engineered insects and in the lab 250 generations, it was stable. They put it out in a fake outdoor, uh, release and under a net. And within eight generations, the gene that they had inserted became silenced spontaneous silencing is one outcome changed expression is another. So even though Oxitec has done almost no, well, they haven't done any serious safety studies. So they're biting mosquitoes may create diseases or not. What happens in 10 years when they've changed the gene pool and the new brand of mosquitoes are biting tourists in key West. We don't know if they're going to end up suffering from some mysterious disease. Now I wrote something in Huffington post years ago. It's also the subject of the film that I hope you'll be catching at our Facebook page. Soon. It's under development right now to just be done within a couple of days, I believe.

Speaker 2: (13:09)
And one of the scenarios that's laid out in this film is if the mosquito saliva and the mosquito bites are completely harmless, let's just pretend that they're completely harmless and that they never change. And that they're always harmless. Does that give a pass to the mosquito control board and forget about the environmental impact for a second? Let's just hold that in the back. Forget that there's safer, more predictable techniques that they can employ. Imagine this, imagine that someone visits the Florida keys and get sick, and doesn't know why the chances of that happening are 100%, many, many, many tourists over the next year, five years, 10 years, we'll visit the Florida keys and get sick and not know why. Now imagine a some portion of them get a serious problem. Maybe even fall into a coma, maybe die and do not know why. And then imagine that that person or their surviving family or their friends realize that genetically engineered mosquitoes were released starting in 2020 175,000 mosquitoes per household over the first year. And if that's quote successful, it will be not a half a million mosquitoes, but billions of mosquitoes just suppose someone puts it together incorrectly at the genetically modified mosquito caused the disease or death.

Speaker 2: (14:51)
Do you think the mosquito control board with its vast resources of joking, of course, could suppress a social media frenzy, a national Enquirer article, a disaster of South Florida, tourism of unprecedented proportions. The rumor that genetically engineered papaya were stolen from a field trial in Thailand, closed the European union to shut down all imports of all papaya from Thailand. For some time people don't trust genetic engineering. And for good reason, the most common result is surprise side effects. Not only are they risking the health and the environment of this and all future generations with this mosquito release, they're betting that no one puts it together rightly or wrongly that someone's mosquito bite was related to some particular symptom. And that that they're betting that that doesn't get out and cause a firestorm. If I were any tourist company or anyone living in South Florida, forget about the keys.

Speaker 2: (16:08)
All of South Florida, mid Florida Disney. If I were living in Florida, I would call the mosquito control board, go to stop gmm.com, sign the petition, make a donation, read the information. And when we release the film, please share it and share it into the Facebook pages and Instagrams of the tourist companies that operate in Florida. And guess what? Texas is next approved by the EPA for release in Texas and mosquitoes are not the only insect that's been genetically engineered and waiting to be approved. This could pop the cork on new mosquito, new types of insects all over the United States. Each one, carrying the potential to create a task atrophy or catechism. So please help us stop it. We're working on your behalf. We helped fund a beautiful billboard. I think you'd like to vote or go to stop gmm.com and read the billboard and share the picture. I hope we can stop this together. And if we can, then all future generations may not know how much they would have thanked us. If they knew the truth you don't need there. Thank you. We just need to get moving and alert everyone about this travesty. Okay, everyone enjoy your blossoming in place. The transformation that's happening all over the world right now, that's used this time, the maximum good, and that's not allow the Florida keys mosquito control

Speaker 3: (17:50)
Board to slip in genetically modified mosquitoes while we're not paying attention. Thank you for listening to live healthy. Be well. Please subscribe to the podcast. Using whatever app you're listening to podcasts with, or go to live healthy, be well.com to subscribe. This podcast will inform you about health dangers, corporate and government corruption and ways we can protect ourselves, our families and our planning. I interview scientists, experts, authors, whistleblowers, and many people who have not shared their information with the world until now, please share the podcast with your friends. It will enlighten and may even save lives.

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