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There's A New Fly on the Wall!

>> Friday, January 28, 2011


I’m all for science improving the life of humanity, but at what cost? Recently in Malaysia 6,000 genetically altered male mosquitoes were released into the wild. The Malaysian government claims that their efforts were to decrease the spread of dengue, a disease spread by female mosquitoes that killed in Asia an estimated 136 people last year.

The current solution being presented is that if scientists can genetically alter the life spans of mosquito, then they won’t live long enough to spread the disease or infect anyone. The problem with this scenario is that the genetically modified traits could spread to other insects resulting in a shortage of food for birds, bats, frog and other animals to eat. Essentially it would be a food chain disaster.

However Malaysia is not the first to try this tactic. An experiment much similar to this one was done in the Cayman Islands from May to October of 2010.

Oxitec, an Oxford-based research firm released sterile male mosquitoes into the wild. By August of 2010 the number of mosquitoes in the test area had dropped by 80%. The Oxitec scientists argue that because the sterile traits won’t be passed “this method will have no permanent ecological impact.” The claim is that the genetically altered males will act better at thinning the mosquito population that insecticides ever could while also reducing the amount of toxins being released into the environment.


Just so you know, dengue isn’t the only disease that mosquitoes pass on to humans and animals. The Malaria parasite is also a big one. Check out this article on how Scientists at the University of Arizona have successfully bred genetically modified mosquitoes that are 100 percent resistant to the malaria parasite, rendering the mosquito incapable of infecting humans with malaria.

What do you think PotSpooners? Do you want genetically altered mosquitoes in your neighborhood if it could mean fewer deaths, or do you want to just let Mother Nature and natural selection to continue doing their thing?

Refrences (Because I'm a geek like that XD)

 
Dillow, Clay. "Malaysia Releases 6,000 Genetically Modified Mosquitoes into the Wild Popular Science." Popular Science New Technology, Science News, The Future Now. N.p., 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Jan. 2011. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-01/malaysia-releases-6000-genetically-modified-mosquitoes-wild.

Ferreira, Becky. "What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Genetically-Modified Mosquitoes Popular Science." Popular Science New Technology, Science News, The Future Now. N.p., 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Jan. 2011. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-01/what-could-possibly-go-wrong-genetically-modified-mosquitoes.

Schiffman, Lizzie. "For The First Time, Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Are Released Into The Wild Popular Science." Popular Science New Technology, Science News, The Future Now. N.p., 12 Nov. 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2011. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-11/mutant-mosquitoes-nearly-wipe-out-their-population-and-diseases-they-carry.

Schmidt, Laurie J.. "Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Are 100 Percent Resistant to Malaria Parasite Popular Science." Popular Science New Technology, Science News, The Future Now. N.p., 15 July 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2011. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-07/genetically-engineered-mosquitoes-are-100-percent-resistant-malaria-parasite.


 




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