Residents Protest The Release Of Mutant Mosquitoes
Residents of the Florida Keys are protesting a project, which involves releasing hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes into the Southern Florida environment. The mosquitoes to be released are all male and do not bite humans, so experts believe that residents do not need to worry about infection. Most importantly, the mosquitoes to be released have been genetically modified to live very short lives. Ideally, Zika-carrying mosquitoes will produce offspring with the mutant gene causing them to live much shorter lives, and therefore lessen the chances of infection in humans.
However, the residents of Key Haven, Florida are protesting the experiment because it makes them feel like guinea pigs, and there will be a very small percentage, around .03, of the mutant mosquitos that are female, and therefore will bite humans. It is in accordance with ethical laws that study subjects be made aware of all risks involved to the test subject, and since this experiment has never been done, the risks are unknown. The protesters also believe that they are not being given a choice in the matter, and are being made test subjects against their will. The decision to release the mosquitoes will come down to a five member control board, three of whom have already decided that they will vote in the public’s favor.
Do you believe that the ethical rules that apply to test subjects should be applied to the residents of the Florida Keys?