While the Mosquito Research and Control Unit is halting the release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes, it says that doesn’t mean the controversial project is over.
Director Dr. Jim McNelly told Cayman 27 the MRCU and Oxitec collected five months worth of data from three sample areas in West Bay, with varying rates of release for the genetically-modified aedies aegypti males.
Now, as scientists pore over the data, Dr. McNelly said it will evaluate Oxitec for potential future collaboration.
“It doesn’t mean that they are done, it just means that we have wrapped up this research project as it was designed,” said Dr. McNelly. “We are coming up on the end of the aedies aegypti season anyway, and so we felt that we had enough data, that we were going to pause the release aspect of that project.”
The MRCU said mosquito numbers for 2018 have been unexpectedly low based on monitoring of its extensive network of traps.