Kirk acquired Oxitec, the British developer of genetically modified mosquitoes in August of 2015. He also purchased O’Kanagan Specialty Fruits (GM non-browning apples) in 2015, and became the majority stakeholder in AquaBounty Technologies (GM salmon) in 2012.
According to Forbes’ The World’s Billionaires, Kirk, with a net worth of $4.1 billion, made his money in pharmaceuticals and synthetic biology.[i] Now he is gambling on real world fear and anxiety about the Zika virus to push deployment of the latest “bio-weapon” against disease-carrying mosquitoes, which happens to be another kind of mosquito that has been genetically modified not to reproduce.[ii]
The Florida Keys Project is purportedly to combat Dengue Fever by reducing the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes via the release of non-reproducing genetically modified mosquitoes. However, the project description admits that Dengue fever is not currently an active health threat in the Florida Keys.[iii]
Authorities in the Florida Keys understandably want to control mosquito population in this popular vacation spot without spraying, but locals say this is “wildly experimental” and fraught with unnecessary risk.
GMO Free Florida is urging people to sign the petition opposing the release. Click HERE to sign.
Tell the FDA that you DO NOT CONSENT to the release of genetically engineered mosquitoes anywhere in the U.S. Make your comment to the FDA today, because once these genetically engineered mosquitoes are released into the environment they cannot be recalled! The FDA is currently accepting comments on the potential release of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the Florida Keys until April 12th. To add your comments, click comments click HERE.
[ii] NYTimes.com (2016). A Biotech Evangelist Seeks a Zika Dividend. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/business/a-biotech-evangelist-seeks-a-zika-dividend.html?_r=0
[iii] Oxitec.com ((2016). Florida Keys Project. http://www.oxitec.com/health/florida-keys-project/