GeneWatch UK PR: GM mosquito questions still need answers

1st March 2017

In a new briefing, published today, GeneWatch UK highlights a string of unanswered questions about Oxitec's plans to expand and roll-out releases of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes across Grand Cayman (1).

The briefing highlights that a significant expansion of GM mosquito releases would raise important questions about cost and effectiveness, scientific protocols, risk assessment and public consent. The not-for-profit organisation has sent the briefing to all the members of the Cayman Islands Government to highlight these issues and concerns. The briefing lists sixteen specific questions about the proposed expansion of releases, and highlights the need for proper procedures to be developed to assess costs, effectiveness and risks.

"A lot more public information is required before larger trials of GM mosquitoes can even be considered", said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK. "There are still yawning gaps in what is known about the consequences of large scale releases, and no clear procedures for how effectiveness or risks will be assessed. We still don't know the costs of rolling out this programme or who is going to be paying for it".

GeneWatch UK is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to ensure that genetic science and technologies are used in the public interest, and that the public have a say about their use.

Notes for Editors

(1)    Oxitec's Genetically Modified Mosquitoes: Ready to roll out? GeneWatch UK Briefing. March 2017.

For further information contact:

Dr Helen Wallace: +44-330-0010507 (office);  +44-7903-311584 (mobile)

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