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Conflicts of Interest Plague GM Mosquito Experiments

As the citizens of Florida and Texas prepare to act as subjects in an experiment in which millions of Oxitec's genetically modified mosquitoes would be released in their states, a scandal has emerged around a journal's treatment of a scientific article that drew attention to unanticipated outcomes and risks of the project. 

The article, published on 10 September 2019 in the Nature-owned journal Scientific Reports, was authored by Jeffrey R. Powell of Yale University and colleagues. The scientists reported the results of experimental trials held in Brazil, in which genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by the biotech company Oxitec (owned by Intrexon) were released. The yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) were genetically engineered to make it impossible for their offspring to survive. Oxitec claimed its mosquitoes had a lethal gene that made them "self-limiting". After release the GM mosquitoes were supposed to mate with female mosquitoes of the species, which transmit infectious diseases, to reduce the natural population. 

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