The mosquito is a family of small flies - the Culicidae. What makes them notable is the females of many of the mosquito species feed upon the blood of vertebrates. Because of the direct contact with the victim's blood, mosquitoes can spread many dangerous diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, or encephalitis.
Both male and female mosquitoes feed upon nectar and plant juices. The female however, requires certain nutrients from blood in order to produce eggs. The mosquito has two separate digestive systems - one for blood and the other for blood.
Florida asks FDA approval to eliminate dengue fever with genetically modified mosquitoes explains that male mosquitoes would be released which would create a birth defect that would kill the developing mosquito.
Florida officials explain they want to avoid using pesticides because of the possible impact upon the fragile Florida Keys ecosystem. British biotech Oxitec has developed the Release of Insects Containing a Dominant Lethal (RIDL) technique. The gene produces a protein named tTA, which then switches other genes. These overload the insect's cellular functions, causing the insect to die. To prevent the carriers, or the male insects, from dying, they are fed an antidote - tetracycline.
The British boffins have also included a fluorescent marker to help scientists identify these genetically modified insects. The company website explains that predators of the mosquitoes such as birds cannot be harmed by the modified mosquito because there is no pesticide.
Mmm. Our ecosystem is wonderfully balanced and introducing singularities into it such as these genetically modified mosquitoes or genetically modified food can (and already have) result in unexpected consequences.