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Oxitec withdraws application to release GM flies in Brazil and Spain

Posted: December 10, 2013 |   Comments

( Oxitec, a UK biotech company, has decided not to carry out its plans to release GM olive and fruit flies in Spain and Brazil after government regulators in the two countries raised concerns for human and environmental health.

The company's decision came after Spanish and Catalan regulators requested more information on the impact that the release of GM insects would have.

"Today's decision shows that regulators are starting to ask important questions about the impacts of releasing GM insects on humans and the environment", said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK, "Oxitec has pulled its application because it does not have the answers to these questions."

Naturally, Brazilian and Spanish citizens are concerned about an international company releasing untested GM insects, which can not be contained or controlled, into their environment. The GM flies would mate with wild flies in the area, and large numbers of GM maggots would end up dead in olives and fruit, increasing consumers' health risks and ruining growers' crops.

Oxitec is currently testing their GM mosquitoes in Brazil, but authorities say they need evidence that these GMOs reduce dengue fever risk and incidence before approving the biotech company's application for commercial use.

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