Your dream of a world without mosquitoes is one step closer to coming true


#1

Destroying the mosquito population may soon become more than just a dream for the bug-averse.

The plan could become reality in the Florida Keys, where Intrexon Corporation’s Oxitec Ltd…has proposed letting genetically-engineered mosquitoes free in a bid to cut down on the Aedes aegypti strain, which transmits the Zika virus, among other mosquito-borne diseases.

If allowed, it would be the first time something like this is tried with mosquitoes in the U.S., and is aimed not at the recent surge in the Zika virus in Latin America but rather at dengue fever, another mosquito-borne disease that flared up in the U.S. in 2009 after decades of inactivity.

Oxitec calls its mosquitoes “self-limiting”: the male mosquitoes are genetically bred so when they mate with female mosquitoes, the offspring die. The male mosquitoes die off, too, so within six to eight weeks, the mosquitoes and their progeny are gone.

Mosquitoes seem like a prime candidate for eradication. Beneath their merely pesky appearance lies a disease-spreading agent, responsible for transmitting Zika virus and dengue but also chikungunya, West Nile virus, yellow fever and malaria.

But could getting rid of the pests have other consequences? A preliminary finding by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine suggested Oxitec’s experiment would have “no significant impact” on the environment, though it noted findings “may change on further review.”

A 2010 article in science journal Nature found that in a world without mosquitoes, “Life would continue as before—or even (be) better.”

Oxitec’s trial is just that: a short-term experiment. With approval, it could last up to 22 months in a designated trial site. The company has been able to achieve mosquito population control in six to nine months in trials in other countries (including the Cayman Islands, Panama and Brazil), said Derric Nimmo, Ph.D., the company’s product development manager.

After that, without additional releases, the mosquito population would recover.

Still, opposition remains: there are local, vocal objections, and nearly 10,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the trial. Sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Food Safety, it compares the experiment with “the plot to a new Jurassic Park” and says it is “simply too risky for our environment and public health and is fraught with many unanswered questions.”

Oxitec has been working since before 2009 on this trial, which it has run past the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency, said Oxitec’s Nimmo.

The FDA’s preliminary findings are currently open for a comment period. Then it could be three months to a year before the agency delivers its final assessment, Nimmo said, adding “but don’t hold me to that.”

In any case, large-scale “self-limiting” mosquito control is still years away, Nimmo said, though it’s possible the company could get emergency permissions if a U.S. Zika outbreak occurs.

Zika is expected to travel to the U.S., though there haven’t been any locally-spread cases yet. Causing symptoms such as fever, rash, muscle pain and headaches, the disease has also been connected to a paralyzing autoimmune disease, birth defects in pregnant women’s children and, most recently, a brain disease much like multiple sclerosis, the New York Post reported.

Link:
marketwatch.com/story/your-dream-of-a-world-without-mosquitoes-is-one-step-closer-to-coming-true-2016-04-20


#2

I wonder if mosquitoes have any benefit at all to the environment. I don’t think they pollinate flowers or fruits.


#3

They are a primary food source for bats. I don’t know beyond that.


#4

They did something similar to this with “screw worm” flies some decades ago, and it worked. With them, it was different, though. They raised and spread a lot of sterile male flies. The eggs didn’t hatch. The life cycle of a fly is very short, and it didn’t take long for dramatic results. It might be the same with mosquitos by this newer method because their life cycles are very short as well.


#5

If this is about GMO mosquitoes, it’s a VERY bad idea.


#6

I say go for it. They say the world’s lost 99% of all past life to extinction. Well I sure as heck wouldn’t care if the mosquito joined that list.

But of course it won’t. It’d be almost impossible to eliminate them everywhere. This is just an alternative to spraying ponds with insecticide.


#7

What will the mosquito fish eat?:smiley:


#8

Yeah. Fooling around with nature again.

Fix one problem - create a new and different one.

Is that Assisi in your picture??

GG


#9

To
Quote ian Malcolm : : Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.


#10

Pax Christi!

And I just killed two of them today! They goin’ down!

God bless.


#11

I say go for it, too!


#12

Do tell me you aren’t one of those people who are vehemently against anything involving the concept of GMOs. Because corn, tomatoes, strawberries, dogs, cows, and really most of the crops we currently eat were genetically modified. The only difference is that those were done over many generations of the plant/animal as opposed to a few.

I can’t think of a downside to this. I’m not aware of any animals who utilize mosquitoes as their primary food source and don’t eat anything else at all. More harmless creatures than the mosquito have gone extinct in the past. Neanderthals for example. Certain species of chinchilla. Various dog breeds. Every member of the genus Homo excluding Sapiens Sapiens.


#13

:thumbsup:


#14

Trident H agrees with you.
We could laugh about this, but I do worry.

It’s not only the problem of knowing whether or not the mosquito has any real purpose. How could we really know? We thought tonsils had no purpose and took many out of kids who should really still have them.

What about what the new strain of mosquitoes might do? Will they just create a new problem? Remember the African bee? We created a bigger problem than the one we solved.

And that meat, tomatoes, strawberries, etc. You’re right. And how do we know what effect those will have. So many more people getting tumors these days.

Just my thoughts. I have no proof for anything of what I’ve said.

GG


#15

Hey GG. Don’t worry about genetically modified stuff like that. Everything on earth’s been genetically modified. That’s how we got where we’re at. I mean have you seen the examples in the museum of the first food crops? What they looked like? Very different.

As far as this mosquito goes? It’s going to be impossible to make them extinct. Impossible. Do you have any idea how many standing lakes there are in the wild? Impossible. At the very best they could make a temporary local decrease work.

So don’t worry. We’ll still have lots and lots of bites. It’ll be Ok.


#16

Anyone else worried about messing with nature too much? I understand the idea behind this but you have to think that God created mosquitoes for some reason.


#17

LOL.

Yeah. You should see some of those tomatoes my husband grows naturally. NO ONE WOULD EVER BUY THEM!!

Hey. Don’t think I’d mind no more mosquitoes!

Why do you suppose God put them on earth? I used to tell my kids it was to keep them in at night – LOL.

GG


#18

Yes, I am against modifying corn to have glyphosate added TO IT to make it resistant to pests…yes, I am against poisoning people with unnecessary changes to food like apples or mushrooms that don’t brown. Food that was grown 150 years ago was just fine. Don’t you wonder why there are suddenly more allergies, especially celiac disease? I don’t want MY FOOD changed to have pesticides in it…that’s poison.

No, those crops were hybrid cross bred…I am talking about changing DNA in the laboratory to add poison to the seed. Then factory farms feed this to animals and we eat the animals or animal products. That’s why I eat organic and grass / pasture raised / free range. That’s the way GOD meant it to be raised.

Genetically modified mosquitoes will NOT take away malaria or the zika virus. It will make things much worse. The zika virus had existed for DECADES but yet the baby’s small head (microphency) just was showing up recently? It was probably exposure to insecticides (the pregnant mom) more than a mosquito bite. They wanted an excuse to abort babies, too.


#19

I think it is wonderful news. There would be so many benefits from this.

But I do think we have to think about what it may do to some of our favorable insects, the bee being one. If this is a chemical that is sprayed or exposed to the open air, then it might affect more than just the mosquitoe. And also how would we be affected by that exposed chemical?


#20

Haha yeah. I sometimes figured it was to teach us to build houses. But I figure we’ve learned all so now they can go. :wink:


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