Houston Officials Considering Gene-Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Zika

Genetically modified mosquitoes could be used to help combat the Zika virus in Houston, officials say.

The mosquitoes are designed to produce offspring that die. Harris County officials are negotiating with British biotech company Oxitec to release the mosquitoes, according to The Houston Chronicle, the Associated Press reported.

No cases of local transmission of Zika have been documented in the Houston area. In Texas, the only homegrown cases of Zika have been in Cameron County, on the border with Mexico.

Oxitec's genetically modified mosquitoes have never been tested in the United States. A plan for a field test in a Florida Keys suburb was scrapped due to residents' concerns, the AP reported.

If Oxitec wants to conduct testing in Harris County, the company would first have to submit an environmental assessment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency said.

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