In a 3-2 vote on Saturday, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District approved a trial of genetically modified mosquitoes designed to curb the spread of infectious diseases, such as Zika, dengue, and chikungunya.
The vote was one of the last remaining hurdles for the bugs, which in August became the first GM animals to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use in an open-field trial.
However, local opposition to the long-planned trial remains fierce and officials still have more work to do—including finding a new trial site.
In two November 8 ballot measures, Key West residents revealed split feelings on the mosquitoes.
Afterward, Phil Goodman, chairman of the district s board of commissioners, said that if the board moved forward with the trial, it would find a new site due to Key Haven's opposition.
Key Haven residents have explained that they don t want to be used as guinea pigs and fear unintentional environmental consequences.