Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitos…

are actually a pretty good idea.

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  • Joseph

    I read this a few days ago. ‘What on Earth?’ was my initial response. Here in Ireland, environmentalists have been in steady opposition to utilising the peat from bogs in an effort to save microscopic organisms though the amount of peat usage has not significantly increased (it’s a natural source of fuel and it’s been used for centuries… the population of the Republic is also much smaller than it was 200 years ago). Yet, somehow, someway, what *is* being allowed is the destruction of an entire ecosystem through unnatural means with not a peep? How is it that the sourcing of peat or the shifting of rocks in the Burren can be halted or diminished so easily and *this* can’t garner enough opposition from the same greenies to stop it. It’s obvious that one is more serious than the other. Inconsistency boggles the mind. I suppose those environmentalists don’t want mosquitos to get in their way when they are on vacation in the Keys?

  • freddy

    I, uh, for one, *welcome* (shudder) our Mosquito Overlords! (gulp!)

  • Stacy Forsythe

    The goal here seems entirely good, but I agree that risks need to be fully considered and minimized before these mosquitoes are simply released into the population.

  • Rob B.

    Wasn’t there a movie about this a while back? Something about Mira Sorvino releasing genetically modified cockroaches into the New York City sewer system? If I recall correctly, that didn’t end well…

    • Newp Ort

      The ending was bad, yes, but so was the rest of the movie.

  • Dave

    “What could it possibly hurt?” sums it up. I doubt that the human mind is even capable of detecting all of the possible repercussions of this. Hubris! Stupidity! Both!

  • MarylandBill

    I think this should be viewed really as trying to choose the least bad option. As the article pointed out lots of chemicals are currently being used to try to control the mosquito population. Surely those will have long term side effects that are not yet known, and they are getting less effective with time, meaning ultimately they will need to use even more chemicals.

  • Brett Powers

    In significant disagreement with you here, Mark. Arguably, trying to control Dengue Fever and chikungunya is a justice issue, and this is a highly effective means of doing so. I would argue it is immoral to NOT do this; otherwise, you are subjecting a large population to painful and deadly diseases. Widespread use of this tactic in Brazil has had great success.

  • Stacy Forsythe

    Brett — ah, so this is not something that has never been tried, but just something that has never been tried in that particular place? That makes me feel better. MarylandBill also makes the good point that the alternative isn’t “do nothing” but “do things that may be riskier.” Caution and testing are vital, but we ought not to reject things simply for being new and unusual.

    • Brett Powers

      If I am hearing you right, Stacy, you hit it on the head. There is a general resistance to GMO that is irrational; that it’s mere presence makes it evil and therefore to be utterly shunned. Which is misled. To eat a banana is to eat a GMO. We’ve been doing this to bananas since the turn of 20th century, and with grains for millenia.

      • Dave

        I have a hard time believing that bananas have been GMO since a century ago, etc. especially since we didn’t even know genes existed until 50 years after that. Cross-breeding, hybridization, etc. is not the same thing as GMO’s with gene splicing etc.

      • MarylandBill

        Well, there is a difference between cross breeding and the sort of genetic modification that is going on here. And that being said, I would prefer the resistance to GMO than the embrace of genetic engineering being stretched to include people.

  • obpoet

    They did this in South Carolina a century ago, and it eradicated malaria. We are still waiting for the what could it hurt phase. True, the new mosquitoes still bite. They just dont carry malaria.

  • Ronald King

    Check out the development of maize which was genetically created about 6,000 years ago about the same time the earth was created.

    • D.T. McCameron

      So Adam got right to work on GMOs, is what you’re saying?

      • Ronald King

        That’s what you’re saying