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Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the it's-a-bug-eat-bug-world dept.

Medicine 521

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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Do I get to say... (5, Funny)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218712)

What could possibly go wrong?

Nature... will find a way! (5, Informative)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218788)

Or maybe not. Actually I would be more in favor of releasing wave after wave of bats. Fruit bats preferably, they're cute!

Re:Nature... will find a way! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218802)

While fruit bats certainly are cute, I don't think they'll be very effective at eating mosquitoes. ;)

Re:Nature... will find a way! (5, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219210)

"fruit bats certainly are cute, I don't think they'll be very effective at eating mosquitoes. "

We just need mosquitoes which genetically altered to taste like mangos.

Re:Nature... will find a way! (4, Informative)

ascrewloose (2428700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219042)

At least the fruit bats won't starve if we kill all the mosquitoes.

Re:Nature... will find a way! (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219044)

I don't know about fruit bats, but we definitely have bat issues in my area. Anything that thins the bat population would be great by my book. I'm definitely glad I haven't seen a mosquito in years now, not happy that I have to deal with a patio full of bat guano due to the fact that bats are protected.

Re:Nature... will find a way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219154)

Contact your local D&D group, the wizards need a good source of bat guano for their fireballs.

Re:Nature... will find a way! (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219234)

Ignorance and superstition. Bats eat insects -- LOTS of insects. They do no harm to society, other animals, or anything else. Little brown bats are insectivores, eating moths, wasps, beetles, gnats,
mosquitoes, midges and mayflies, among others. You like mosquitos, cockroaches, flies, and moths?

You wouldn't like your neighborhood without bats.

Re:Do I get to say... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218900)

But they're only creating males - you know, like in Jurassic Park.

Re:Do I get to say... (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218960)

No in Jurassic Park they didn't make Males.

Females can in theory spontaneously reproduce... Males cannot.

Mosquitoes will go the way of the dinosaur! (3, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218902)

What could possibly go wrong?

The mosquito could become extinct in a few generations. Here's how this could play out:

Mosquitoes usually fly when fleeing danger. These flightless mosquitoes will not be in position to flee! In a situation where they could survive a whack by flying away, they will surely be killed!

Killed in enough numbers, there will be no female mosquitoes to produce the 'next generation!'

Result: Males will find it difficult to find a mate, resulting in fewer mosquitoes all together.

Folks, the mosquito could get extinct in a few years. Scary indeed.

Re:Mosquitoes will go the way of the dinosaur! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219018)

Indeed. Without a vector for malaria, what will we do about all those poor brown people?

Re:Mosquitoes will go the way of the dinosaur! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219170)

Well your conclusion is correct at least. I'm not saying a wingless mosquito wont find it's way to a food source, but it greatly reduces their ability to get to a food source meaning the wingless females wont have enough energy to reproduce making her life nearly useless.

Re:Mosquitoes will go the way of the dinosaur! (2)

john.r.strohm (586791) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219232)

There are places in the world today where eradication of mosquitoes would definitely be seen as a Good Thing.

Malaria, sleeping sickness, ...

Re:Do I get to say... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219140)

With killing mosquitoes? Nothing!

Lets fuck it up. (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218714)

We are basing an entire science and evolution upon genetic modification through chance encounters leading to amplified results over generations (and rightfully so), but we are playing with genes of fast-breeding lower level creatures like they were lego bricks. yeah. i can assure you there wont be any fast modifications due to the genes you introduced over the subsequend generations. ending up in who knows what.

Re:Lets fuck it up. (0)

MichaelKristopeit400 (1972448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218770)

AIDS

Re:Lets fuck it up. (3, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218928)

Your comment is difficult to understand, but I'm pretty sure you are implying that the GM mosquitoes will mutate and become some kind of super-bug.

However it is a non-problem. The modified flies have defective offspring, who also have defective offspring. The population will soon go extinct, long before there have been enough generations to mutate into something else. That whole extinction thing is the whole point of releasing these bugs!

-d

Re:Lets fuck it up. (3, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219028)

Partially agreed but...at the same time... who knows what doesn't mean it wont work...or will result in problems later, just that we don't fully know...and I might argue, can't fully know until we try.

That said, I think it has a real chance of working, mostly because of how drastic of an effect this could have by shifting the reproductive cycle in such a way as to massively overpopulate males vs females. If this works for the first few generations, it could quickly put a hurting on their numbers. This leaves a couple of possibilities.

Actually.... this reminds me of some of the talk of cancer evolution....in fact, its probably a good model here. To go from being a human cell to a cancer cell generally takes not just one, but several evolutionary steps. At each of those steps, a cell line could die off (either via chance or via a cleaning mechanism designed to take out mutated cells). Chances are, if you have cancer, your body came close to cancer several times before one cell finally finds the right mutated configuration.

So the chance of developing cancer actually is dependent on the number of steps required to become cancerous, down all of the paths that it can. This is an identical situation here.... it comes down to how close the populations genetic makeup is to being able to circumvent this. If it only takes one or two mutations to make females who avoid GM males, or to produce something which compensates for the change, then.... this is unlikely to work. Similarly, if they already have the genes required to make females that are not susceptible, then this will simply make sure that they dominate.

That said, if there are no coping mechanisms already in their population, and if developing them is more than a few mutations away.... it could come damned close to eradicating them. Once their numbers are vastly smaller, it would also slow the rate of total mutations in their population, making them less likely to make it over the hurdles.

It could work.... but... what that will mean in the long term is unclear.

Wait a second... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218762)

What about species (bats, for one) which feed on mosquitoes, or otherwise somehow rely on them in their ecosystem?

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218818)

As Sarah Palin said - "Polar Bears are not endangered, they are just unlucky"

Re:Wait a second... (4, Interesting)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Wait a second... (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218918)

Oops, ignore that. I misread the parent's point.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219214)

I read this an instantly thought of Government Motors... They have a hard time making a good vehicle at a profit, I don't want them making animals...

Re:Wait a second... (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219070)

I do seem to recall a similar plan which, rather than reducing the number of the species by producing females that cannot feed effectively, simply innoculated the buggers against being disease carriers.

Obligatory turd in punchbowl (5, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218772)

Sorry to break up this anti-mosquito party, but don't mosquitos serve a useful purpose in nature?
Is it OK for us to blindly eradicate them just because they cause disease in humans? It's not like mosquitos are going to kill us off or anything.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (4, Interesting)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218812)

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

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (5, Funny)

LostOne (51301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218850)

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

Like, for instance, humans. Nature would get along much better without us, probably.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (5, Funny)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218936)

> Like, for instance, humans. Nature would get along much better without us, probably.

Not quite, there are mosquitoes that need humans as a food source.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219030)

nah, they can transition to other things pretty easily. Cows, for example.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219162)

nah, they can transition to other things pretty easily. Cows, for example.

Anyone who's ever hung out with cows on da farm knows they're not exactly rocket scientists. Buffalo would repopulate the plains without humans in the way, but I'm not seeing a bright future for cows, corn, or chickens without people. Pigs, yeah pigs would probably do pretty well without us.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219204)

Cows would also starve to death without humans.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (5, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219060)

Like, for instance, humans. Nature would get along much better without us, probably.

My theory is that nature wanted plastics, and since there was no natural way to produce plastics nature created humans to make plastics. Unfortunately for nature this plan has gone slightly had some unforeseen side effects.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (-1, Troll)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218940)

When you get up in the morning, and look at yourself in the mirror, what do you think? Such a generalized statement as yours could only come from a deep self-loath. Are you ever happy?

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218994)

Why can't someone enjoy living but also believe that nature would also get along much better without us?

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219184)

I don't know. Why couldn't somebody live a happy life with the constant notion that their own existence diminishes -- and even damages the world around them? Good question there. I've got nothing to say.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219192)

because of the paradox. If someone truly believed that to be true then they would loathe their very own existence. As it is it usually is more of a political statement or a way to stir up social conversation as it is un-provable.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

LostOne (51301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219168)

Such a generalized statement as yours could only come from a deep self-loath. Are you ever happy?

Interesting assertion. I'm quite happy most of the time and I do not have any deep self-loathing. Therefore your assertion is disproved. (Any statement can be disproved by finding a single example contrary to that statement.)

The original I replied to stated that not everything in nature serves a useful purpose. That assertion is plausible. After all, species do not survive because they serve a useful purpose - they survive because they are good enough at surviving.

On the topic of humans. If all humans vanished, slowly or otherwise, it would not take long for other predators to take over from us on the hunting side of things and as far as plant life goes, it would do just fine, in the general case. Thus, nature would get along just fine without us.

Admittedly, my wisecrack about humans serving no useful purpose was somewhat tongue in cheek. Obviously, the situation is not nearly so simple as such a statement would suggest.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218982)

Humans aren't the problem, it is and always will be .. technology. The moment we started using tools, we started to augment our environment to make it more inhabitable for larger groups.

Take away all the tools, we are just animals, like the rest of nature.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219218)

Yes because none of the other animals use tools and our tools have never been used to improve the earth :) I maintain it is our jobs to be stewards of the earth, and we are to use the power that we have to establish a livable planet regardless of what nature does to try to destroy itself every few millenia :)

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

BaronAaron (658646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219208)

Earth will be incinerated by the Sun in a couple billion years. Humans are nature's way of spreading Earth's unique lifeforms to other parts of the universe. Of course humans could fail at this task, but then nature has time to evolve a few more sentient races before the end.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218834)

Also, FTFA:

"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."

So yes, apparently they can and have caused us a lot of problems.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218898)

Also, FTFA:

"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."

So yes, apparently they serve a useful purpose.

There, FTFY

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (2, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218922)

But the question is not "are they harmful to humans" but rather "will the harm done by their eradication be worse or not?"

Does it matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218962)

In the end, the vast majority of people that die from disease spread by mosquitos live in some of the poorest places on earth. This may prevent them from dying from malaria, but it's unlikely that their countries are going to be able to feed a lot of extra mouths or stop many of the other leading causes of death. While this might be a step in the right direction, I can't foresee this helping anyone in the short term.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218874)

They do serve a useful purpose! They keep the very much more dangerous human primate population under control.

Typically specist human thinks all creatures exist to serve him, hmm?

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (0)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219012)

Wish I had mod points. This is insightful. The population of the earth stayed relatively under control for centuries do to bloody wars, famines, plagues and the like. Now in the past 100-150 years we start eradicating all these things so we can live longer and what happens? The population goes wild. The good news is that the GM stuff that is supposed to save lives will probably create some sort of zombie apocalypse that will bring things back into line:)

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219052)

Typically specist human thinks all creatures exist to serve him, hmm?

Well, yes, the entire point of the human intelligence is that we survived by mastering our environment. I suppose you would also protest lions eating deer?

Part of that mastery, of course, is to care for the environment and not destroy it.

them and us. (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218904)

The effort to warm the planet will increase the population of mosquitos. We have to eradicate them to enjoy our swan song.

Re:them and us. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219130)

The effort to warm the planet will increase the population of mosquitos.

Uh, no it won't. Europe had far more mosquitos when it was colder.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218908)

but don't mosquitos serve a useful purpose in nature?

So does cancer. Anyway, we've got bigger things to worry about than mosquitos to be honest... for example, China is just about to enter an era of mass industrialization. Over 10% of their land mass is contaminated with heavy metals. You think global warming is a problem now? By the time this is over, it won't seem so inhuman to have dropped a few nukes on that landmass... it would probably be healthier after. :(

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219206)

Luckily their economy is starting to collapse. They'll be back to rice farming soon enough. Oh wait, what about that heavy metal contamination? Its actually worse than you think...

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219222)

I really hope you're joking. If you are, genocide isn't funny.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (4, Informative)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218946)

Since clearly a lot of people didn't read the article or the link in the article that directly addresses this [nature.com] ...

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219124)

Because we have such a great track record when it comes to deciding what forms of life should be allowed to exist or not.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218970)

I found this on the Internet.

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/466432a.html

[[Ecology: A world without mosquitoes

Eradicating any organism would have serious consequences for ecosystems — wouldn't it? Not when it comes to mosquitoes, finds Janet Fang.]]

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219000)

I thought everything has its place in the ecosystem, but I've always wondered about mosquitoes and ticks.

They do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219006)

Yes, they do serve a purpose, they more or less keep the human population in check.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219016)

Nope. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/466432a.html

Science fiction story (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219032)

I believe there was a science fiction story that once something like this:

Some super space aliens/God came to earth and after seeing what Man had done to the planet gathered up all the animals and asked:

"If two of you will say that Man was good to you, I will spare him, otherwise he will be made extinct like he has done to so many of you."

The dog, stood next to his master, loyal in his hour of need. The cat on the other hand merely licked his paws and sauntered away.

"Is there no-one else who will vouch for Man?". Just silence. Finally, the mosquito came, remembering all the juicy meals it had sucked from that soft, hairless flesh.

THAT SAID I REALLY HATE THE BUGGERS. (I live in Vietnam and I had Dengue fever last year, horrific.) Where, oh where is that mosquito vaporizing laser demonstrated at TED? Can't someone buy the patent rights fom Paul Allen and develop it already?!

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (2)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219048)

Nature can survive without this particular species of mosquito. There are hundreds of other flies that fill the same niche.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219054)

yes, they are food for numerous water organisms, insects and small birds. Mosquitoes vanishing would be disastrous. If their predators starve to death, then other bugs that no longer have predators will become a plague.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (3, Informative)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219094)

The article links to this Nature story [nature.com] that asserts that completely eradicating mosquitos would have no measurable effect on the environment. They don't really do anything but spread disease. They might have a role as a food source for other animals, but they don't appear to be very significant.

But we might be missing an important part of the chain, and wiping out the mosquitos might throw the world completely out of balance. Then again, humans have so many reasons to hate the little buggers that it still might be worth it.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219100)

California's central valley used to be chock full of mosquitoes until we killed them all with DDT. The DDT appears to have done much more damage than the loss of the bugs.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (2)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219132)

Less than 10% of mosquito species carry plasmodium. It's about 100% certain that killing off the species that do will result in the other non-lethal mosquito species filling their niche.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219148)

In all seriousness, as far as I am aware, outside of feeding the purple martin, I dont think the mosquito really has a useful purpose in nature other than population control.

Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219182)

This thing will reduce their fertility, but won't kill them off unless deployed in mass. But yeah, we should take a gradual approach, like killing off half, observing the results, and if nothing bad happens then repeat.

Mosquitos (1)

logical_failure (2405644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218804)

Kill 'em all.

Genocide (4, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218810)

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.

Re:Genocide (5, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219004)

It saves human lives. fsck the mosquitoes. Did you complain when they eradicated small pox?

Re:Genocide (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219074)

I don't think a few humans dying warrants the eradication of an entire species. And I care more about bugs/animals that I can actually see.

Re:Genocide (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219246)

I don't think a few humans dying warrants the eradication of an entire species. And I care more about bugs/animals that I can actually see.

Why not? The way I see it, there's a single thing you should care about when we're talking about the eradication of an entire species: how will it affect humans?

If it will affect humans positively, then we should do it. If it will affect humans negatively, we should not. Every species are able to manipulate their environment to some extent, and when they do it, they do it in a way that makes the environment more suited to them, that's why they evolved the ability. Just because humans can do the manipulation on a greater scale that means we should stop?

Re:Genocide (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219172)

Well first only the only diseases that are spread anywhere I know of by mosquitoes only kill the old and infirm (people who at least have a very very good chance of dying from something very soon be it a mosquito bite or simply getting the flu).
If you kill all the mosquitoes, sure the number of mosquito related deaths might become zero "saving thousands", but that would be with a similarly sized increase in all the other causes of death to the infirm.

And secondly killing the mosquitoes will likely result in the extinction or near extinction of all bug eating birds and bats, leaving the entire country open to wave upon wave of other insects.

Re:Genocide (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219076)

Maybe, but seriously: fuck mosquitoes.

Re:Genocide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219220)

I really hope you kill off a lot of birds on your continent by doing this. Which, in turn will make some other bug multiply by the billions and kill even more of you selfish ass holes. I can't believe how ignorant you are.

Re:Genocide (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219118)

Don't try to make us out to be the bad guy. If the new mosquitoes would simply practice abstinence, there would be no genocide. Their own fault.

this is just wrong (0)

tatman (1076111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218828)

I realize the motivations might be well intended, such as stomping out malaria. However, there is so much more harm that could come from this. Entire eco-systems mucked with in a bad way. There's animals that depend on mosquitoes as their food source. And then there's the animals that depend on those animals and the chain goes on.

Re:this is just wrong (1)

happylight (600739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218934)

I think as long as humans aren't part of that chain then we're all good. And we can make sure that we won't by making our own food source, which we already do.

Re:this is just wrong (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218974)

I tend to think that the whole chain converges rather than diverges as you claim. Otherwise, I'd be hard pressed to explain how the whole thing worked so far.

That said, I completely agree that the harm done by eradication could very well outweigh the harm mosquitoes are doing right now.

Re:this is just wrong (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218984)

I assume that other flies (that don't carry the disease that these mosquitoes do) will fill in the population gap and provide food for low-level predators.

-d

Crawling moquitos (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218872)

SO were gonna end up with mosquito's that now can crawl and bite us. Also how many other species need those mosquito's to survive?

Re:Crawling moquitos (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219230)

We have killed birds, beavers, ... over 500 different species that we know of and we constantly fight to get rid of some bacteria and viruses. Why the sudden interest to save this one?

Itchy (2, Funny)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218894)

Anyone else start to itch while reading this article?

That's nuts.... (4, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218920)

Much as humans hate them, mosquitoes constitute a potent food source to smaller vertebrates. Mammals represent massive concentrations of energy, and blood is a high energy substrate. Mosquitoes are a huge power source of fish, bats, etc. when they're caught still full of blood, and they're easy to catch.

I read in the one of the article links that the ecological impact isn't expected to be a serious problem, but I find that difficult to accept. And there are certainly detractors to that theory in the scientific community.

Is eradicating malaria, West Nile, etc. really worth the risks? They may be highly threatening to humans, but ultimately we still have to live here after the mosquitoes are gone...

Re:That's nuts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218998)

They'll eat other shits that don't sting...

How can I help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219088)

> Is eradicating malaria, West Nile, etc. really worth the risks?

Say that to a victim's face you asswipe.

Not eradicating a pest that kills children because of some hypothetical shortage of other insects for animals to eat is about as vile as you can get.

Every comment here should begin and end with "How can I help?"

Re:How can I help? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219102)

Think of the children!

Re:That's nuts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219160)

Since the world is at 7 billion now please tell me where we are going to cram all the people who won't die from malaria and how they will be taken care of? I have no desire to live in a world that resembles a Hong Kong street. Maybe they should make mosquitoes that spread a birth control virus.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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)

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218924)

I, for one, welcome our new flightless female mosquito overlords...

Re:Obligatory (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219216)

they are hardly overlords. They are being modified to die faster, not modified to kill.

They server some purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218938)

Don't eradicate mosquitoes, they server their purpose. For example, all blueberries are pollinated by mosquitoes. You like blueberries, don't you?

How about driving their evolution instead? (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218968)

Instead of eradicating them, why not impose a strong selection just against the ones we don't like, namely, the ones that can carry yellow fever, dengue, etc.

If we start imposing a strong selection pressure against mosquitoes that carry disease, but leave the ones that DON'T carry disease alone, we wipe out the disease a lot more selectively. And we don't leave an open niche for something else (possibly worse) to occupy.

--PM

Re:How about driving their evolution instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219080)

How do we do that? The beauty of this method is that it's extremely simply, it's clever, and if we included a recessive version of the gene that does this it would be almost impossible for the mosquito population to get rid of our tinkering.

Re:How about driving their evolution instead? (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219092)

So, for instance, we could create a way to selectively wipe out just the one species of mosquitoes that carry these diseases, while leaving other closely related species unharmed. Perhaps we could make it so that their females can't feed or flee from predators.

Re:How about driving their evolution instead? (3, Informative)

Rerracoon (955669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219196)

That's exactly what they are doing. They are concentrating on one single strain of mosquito that is the only one that carries the virus. by eradicating only this one strain, they hope to eliminate the virus without eliminating the Mosquito as a species.

We will likely regret this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219008)

This type of stuff is what leads to huge problems.
Any time it seems that humans interfere in nature without looking at all the repercussions. We screw it up worse than if we would have left it alone. Just look where we have screwed with species before like the cane toad in Australia. There are many more examples as well.
Would it not be better to modify the mosquitoes so the pathogens cant survive in there body's. Do the light touch rather than really screw things up? Oh but that would actually require more thought.

Stupid Humans....

Start an Occupy Wetlands movement instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219128)

You wouldn't have to eradicate any species and would give all the mosquito-hating squatters without a job a smug sense of doing good.

Chaos theory (1)

rabenja (919226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219142)

...having read the follow-on article suggesting that wiping out mosquitoes might not result in a significant change in the overall environment, I thought of the butterfly effect. It is hubris to expect that we could foresee myriad bad possibilities.
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