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A proposal to release genetically engineered mosquitoes for the first time in the United States cleared an important threshold Saturday, with mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys giving their nod of approval to a hotly debated field trial.

The board of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District voted 3-2 to move forward with the trial, with commissioners Stephen Smith and William Shaw opposing the measure, a spokeswoman for the mosquito control district said.


Several steps remain before the trial can commence. First, officials need to find a new site after two-thirds of voters in the proposed location — a community called Key Haven — opposed the trial when asked on a nonbinding ballot measure earlier this month if it should move forward or not.

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