A paper that appeared in Scientific Reports by Evans et al. (1)asked whether changes in the genotypes of target mosquito populations would occur due to introgression of released transgenic mosquito genomes. The paper in fact describes the introgression of released mosquito strain genome into wild populations of Aedes aegypti after releases of the OX513A strain developed by Oxitec and the paper has generated a lot of controversy. Is this a surprising finding or an entirely predictable outcome? Is it cause for alarm?
Teams testing mosquitoes that are being considered for field release, their advisors, policy makers and donors often talk about ‘large cage trials’, but how large must a cage be for mosquito trials to qualify for that title? Is the proper metric its volume or stimulation of behavioral characteristics for a cage that provides the data we need? Perhaps the real value of large cage testing is neither of these but its independence.
This guest editorial was written by Dr. Guy Reeves of the Max-Planck institute in Plön, Germany.