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Decision awaited on genetically modified insect trial

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-2495...

From BBC News

The aim is to combat this olive crop pest by releasing male flies that have a "female-killing gene".

If the GM flies can outbreed the wild flies, the female offspring will die - reducing the olive fly population.

The technology was created by the co-founder and chief scientific officer at Oxitec, Dr Luke Alphey.

"Olive fly is the single major pest of olive production," Dr Alphey explained.

"In a bad year, you can lose the whole of an olive crop.

"And it's a very hard pest to control; it's been treated with insecticides, but now there's a lot of resistance."

Olives are an important commercial crop in Europe; olive groves account for about five million hectares in the EU. And, according to Oxitec, the olive industry in Greece spends approximately 35 million euros (£30m) annually on insecticides to control olive flies - to prevent an estimated loss to the industry of 650 million euros.

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