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GM Frankenfly to battle pests

News

London - British scientists are to unleash a new weapon in the battle against crop pests – genetically-modified flies.

Thousands of GM olive flies will be released into fields in what is claimed will be an environmentally-friendly alternative to chemicals.

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File photo: GeneWatch UK said many maggots may also die inside the growing olives, posing a risk to human health.

Oxford-based research firm Oxitec has applied to test its ‘Frankenfly’ on an olive grove in Spain.

If the first ever release of GM animals in the EU is approved, modified males would mate in the wild and pass on a gene that causes their female offspring to die at the maggot stage.

Oxitec chief executive Hadyn Parry said it was an “exciting new approach” at a time when European agriculture faces “severe challenges”.

But critics fear male descendants of the GM flies could escape and spread. GeneWatch UK said many maggots may also die inside the growing olives, posing a risk to human health. - Daily Mail

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