Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Vote for Plan B

Scientists at Johns-Hopkins University have developed a genetically modified mosquito that is better able to survive than mosquitoes in the wild. The plan is to release the mutant mosquitoes who are hardier and through natural selection, they will eventually take over and other mosquitoes will die out. They believe this is a good idea, because the genetically modified mosquitoes are immune to malaria.

I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here: it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it.
-Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

While 300 million people contract malaria each year, and 1 million die from it, this could potentially avert the malaria problem. Except that the malaria the genetically superior mosquitoes do not spread is a form that makes mice sick, but not people.

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
-Dr. Ian Malcolm Jurassic Park.

Does anyone really think its a fabulous idea to release genetically mutated super-bugs into the environment? I don't know of anyone who personally enjoys being bitten by mosquitoes, having mosquito bites, or being infected with encephalitis or West Nile virus. Malaria is one of our concerns, but malaria in people, not in rats!

It's almost as if they think that having more mosquitoes will make things better. I've never had mosquitoes take all my blood before, I suspect the population of Africa (where Malaria is most rampant) could supply more blood to the mosquito population than they are currently. So is the idea that with only half the mosquitoes now spreading disease, we will feel better about that-and somehow not notice we are getting twice as many mosquito bites? (I don't think that reduces the odds of contracting Malaria much.)

What is so great about discovery? It is a violent, penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world.
-Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Um-kay, maybe rape is a little extreme, but there has to be a better solution than the introduction of genetically engineered micro-vampires into the food chain. It's only a matter of time before the little devils mutate to become invincible, organize and take over the world-right after we all die of some undiscovered prion that the genetically modified mosquitoes do carry, but the scientists did not notice when they concocted their little scheme.

Enter Plan B: Scientists at Hebrew University have annihilated their mosquito population by spraying a sugar based pesticide on acacia trees. Female mosquitoes need blood to reproduce, but they need sugar for energy. Mosquitoes are picky about what they eat, so its been discovered that we can selectively spray only the flowers and plants they find attractive-not the ones that are part of our food supply.

Call me crazy, but the idea of a mosquito-less world is very appealing to me. No more choosing between wearing eau deu Deep Woods and dying of West Nile more paying $150 every three months on Canine Advantix for my dogs.

I don't think the John's Hopkins research has gone to waste, maybe they could generalize their research to creating genetically modified honeybees that have no stingers, but who also create more honey. Its a win-win situation for Winnie the Pooh, and for those of us who have to carry an Epi-Pen in the spring and summer.


Mary said...

down with mosquitoes!

MommyK said...

Ewww...this reminds me of that creepy movie with Mira Sorvino. Mimic. It was about a child-killing disease spread by cockroaches, so some scientists engineered a super-bug to kill all the roaches, thus ending the epidemic. Except a few years later, the super-bugs mutated into enormous killing machines trying to take over the humans. Think lots of slime...