In today’s “Probably Illegal” category, we find this gem on the Oxitec blog. CEO Haydn Parry testified before Congress that the company “releases males that can’t bite” when the FDA Report says 62 biting females will be released *per person* in the Key Haven trial (page 39).
The story goes on to quote the CEO as saying, “Females can’t tell the difference between wild males and Oxitec males and the more that will mate with our males, the more offspring will die and we will bring the population crashing down.” This is a complete falsehood on two counts: First, wild mosquitoes can definitely tell the difference in modified GMO insects. We know this because the modified mosquitoes are only *half as effective* in mating as wild ones (page 83). This is the reason that Oxitec must overwhelm the system with 10x the number of natural mosquitoes to have any chance of the GMO ones mating.
Furthermore, this statement is intentionally misleading, implying that Oxitec’s product reduces the mosquito population when in fact, the product works by *increasing the mosquito population*. It requires repeated, high volume releases over a small area in order to show any effects. If mosquito rearing and releasing isn’t continued, any benefits of the Oxitec program disappear in as little as two weeks.