Residents protest towards the upcoming launch of genetically modified mosquitoes

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S.Of course, most people hate mosquitos. They hate her for reasons ranging from destroying a beautiful sunset with a cocktail to having angry, itchy red spots on your ankles and wearing scary illnesses like zika and dengue fever.

However, biotech company Oxitec says it has a solution. Sometime this year, with permission from the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, the company will release its genetically modified male mosquitoes in certain areas of the island chain. The engineered beetles are designed to mate with females in the local population. Their genetic modification means that female offspring die before reaching adulthood, which reduces the mosquito population. (Only women bite.) Bye pesky skeeters, hello peaceful evenings and good health?

Affected locals say it’s not that easy. A group of about 30 citizens gathered at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo on the morning of February 21 to hold signs in protest of Oxitec’s plan.

“We want better regulation. Science is growing faster than our regulators. We’ve been fighting the EPA for five years to fix this, ”said Mara Daly, who helped organize the event. She told Keys Weekly, “I’m really fed up with the Oxitec press releases that state how much the locals are totally supportive of this process.”

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