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Medicine Science

Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes 521

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-a-bug-eat-bug-world dept.
doug141 writes "Scientists are releasing genetically modified male mosquitoes that produce flightless female offspring. The male offspring go on to wipe out another generation of females. This is similar to the way screwworms were eradicated in the U.S., except with nature itself making more of the modified males. Field trials are already underway."
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Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes

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  • Genocide (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:08PM (#38218810) Homepage

    You would think that some organization like the UN would step in and tell the US that genocide of an entire species is not a good thing.

  • by LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:08PM (#38218812)

    Although I don't immediately know the specifics for mosquitos, not everything in nature serves a useful purpose.

  • Re:Wait a second... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheCRAIGGERS (909877) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:14PM (#38218886)

    As far as I know, there aren't too many actual horror stories about GM animals messing up ecosystems.

    However, there are hundreds of years worth of horror stories from introducing some species of animal or plant to help control another bothersome species. Plus many accidental, but no less problematic, introductions.

    I'm not saying that GM as a species control is safe, but I am saying we've tried it that your way and it doesn't work well.

  • Re:That's nuts.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:32PM (#38219194)

    "The humble mosquito, and the deadly diseases it carries, is estimated to have been responsible for as many as 46 billion deaths over the history of our species. That staggering number is even more frightening in context - it means that mosquitoes are alleged to have killed more than half the humans that ever lived."

    Besides eliminating one species of Mosquito isn't going to affect the others that live in the same places. (like eliminating Chihuahuas won't affect other dogs species much)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:42PM (#38219344)

    Are you joking? Could not genociding mosquitoes cause trouble for birds or unseen advantages to some other insect and couldn't trouble for birds or any other ripple of a consequence lead to a chain of effects of an unforeseen kind and magnitude?

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @05:56PM (#38219556)

    Just as killing mosquitoes wholesale would be "bad" for the "cycle of life,"

    I'm not at all convinced that mosquitoes aren't an exception. Most of their "positive utility" is in serving as food for critters higher on the food chain, but in that respect they're pretty fungible with most other insects. If we killed all the mosquitoes, it wouldn't kill all the bats -- they would just eat other insects.

    The primary other thing they do is draw blood from various animals (which has a negligible effect on anything) and spread disease (which is pretty firmly in the net negative category).

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.

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