Key West mom challenges company's planned mosquito invasion

British Company tells FDA research needed to stop disease

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KEY WEST, Fla. - A Key West mother of three is asking the FDA to deny a British biotech company's request to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States.

Oxitec's application comes on the heels of a local community effort to stop a planned experiment to release the mosquitoes in the Florida Keys.

Mila de Mier, the woman behind the challenge, says she is concerned about the lack of science and potential consequences of releasing an "experimental organism on a delicate ecosystem."

"The Florida Keys is a beautiful place, and it's my home," de Mier said.  "We won't be lab rats just so this company can make money.  Oxitec says we have to do this to control mosquitoes, but it's just not true. Other methods of mosquito control are working. We don't need to gamble with mutant mosquitoes."

Oxitec says their genetically modified mosquitoes will help control mosquito populations by affecting how they breed. The company says their experimental mosquitoes are needed to stop the spread of diseases like Dengue fever.

But residents say current methods of mosquito control are effective, pointing to the decrease in Dengue fever cases in recent years.  The last reported case of Dengue fever in the Florida Keys was in 2010.

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