Oxitec should still do more to show that the synthetic DNA causes no harm when transferred into humans by its mosquitoes, said Guy Reeves, a molecular geneticist at Germany's Max Planck Institute. To build trust in any cutting-edge science, a range of independent experts — not just the company that stands to gain or the regulatory agency involved — should have enough access to data published in peer-reviewed journals to be able to explain the specific benefits and risks, he said.
Key Haven resident Marilyn Smith still wasn't persuaded. The Keys haven't experienced a dengue outbreak in years, and no chikungunya cases have been reported here, she said.
"If I knew that this was a real risk and lives could be saved, that would make sense," Smith said. "But there are no problems. Why are we trying to fix it? Why are we being used as the experiment, the guinea pigs, just to see what happens?"
The place to test it regardless is where the disease is at its worst.