Yes, you did in fact read the headline correctly. 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes have been approved to be released in Florida.
On Tuesday, officials in the Florida Keys approved the release of the modified bugs. The goal is to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus. This would come about after the region had problems with outbreaks of dengue, which affected 26 people this year. The approval by the region’s Mosquito Control District comes months after the Environmental Protection Agency previously approved an experimental use permit that granted the British-based, U.S.-operated company Oxitec permission to release these mosquitoes out into the wild.
According to BBC activist against the procedure are warning of possible damage to ecosystems, and the potential creation of hybrid, insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. Though, the company involved says there will be no adverse risk to humans or the environment, and points to a slate of government-backed studies.