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Genetically Engineered Malaria-Resistant Mosquito 35

David_Bloom writes "According to this Yahoo! News article, a team of German and American genenetic engineering experts have successfully created a malaria-resistant mosquito. Sounds good, but the scientists are still unsure about how to actually apply this to the world's large mosquito population."
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Genetically Engineered Malaria-Resistant Mosquito

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  • Now they're going to breed billions and billions of mosquitoes to add to the planet. Wonderful.

    Ya know, if they had actually added some desirable genetic (to other mosquitoes) mutations, it would work. Like giant mosquito dicks or fat mosquito wallets, or something like that.
  • by ObviousGuy ( 578567 ) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @10:00PM (#3569753) Homepage Journal
    Just make sure that you're only bitten by these malaria-resistant mosquitoes.

    Wonder if it's possible if they could introduce this new species in the old environment and have it wipe out the old kind. That's what they do with killer bees, they replace the killer queen with a homely queen and all the bees born thereafter and normal and well-adjusted.
  • Maybe they can further enhance the mosquitoes to produce an opiate-like substance that gets injected into the bloodstream of its victims. I'm not sure of the *practical* uses of such a mosquito, but man, it sure would be fun in the summer time near the swamp!
  • Dear Sir, I am writing to apply for the course in Genenetics offered by your department. I originally intended to apply for genetics, but obviously as it consists of less syllables, it must be rather low-brow when compared to the above course.
    • Ooops (Score:1, Funny)

      by David_Bloom ( 578245 )
      While you're at it, I better retake a keyboaroarding class...or maybe go to my speecheech therapist and makaaka sure i donta have a studderudding problem...


      (note to moderators: i wrote this slashdot article. this is not offtopic :-D)

  • Uhhhh...squish it?

    You know, I can put this liquid on my dog's skin and for three months, he's immune to fleas. Completely immune - they die if they touch him. Why isn't there something like this for humans?

    Personally, I favor pulling back to suborbital range, saturation bombing the planet with DEET until it's livable, and then coming back.

    • Making mosquitoes that don't bite humans is in the cards...maybe not the way you suggest...but its there.

      Have a look at this article at BBC [bbc.co.uk].

      Specifically, this part:
      This could be done by:...
      ...modifying the insects' sense of smell so that they seek out and bite animals rather than humans;

  • Dump a bunch of mosquitos that have traits that make them good desirable mates into the environment so they bump out all the existing mosquitos. But make sure the mosquitos you dump are sterile. So you end up kill like 95% of all mosquitos. Then you dump these malaria resistant ones in its place to quickly fill in the vacuum that the others left behind. Of course, if it were that easy to just kill off all the mosquitos they probably would've tried that already.

    Anyway, I think they should make a mosquito that can transmit HIV. That would be a funky terrorist weapon.
    • Yeah, the HIV carrying mosquito would be great until it spreads into your neighborhood.
      • Man, you reply like that was a serious comment or something. A joke! A crazy sick idea, but a joke.
        • How do you think government programs get started?

          (Seriously: take a look at the history behind some of those mid-teen numbered amendments... sheesh.)
          • Yeah don't you love the ones that somehow invoke "interstate commerce" in order to justify themselvees? Alcohol should be illegal because someone could be driving in a state other than his residence, on business, and he can crash! Our duty to regulate interstate commerce demands that we make alcohol illegal!
            • Um... I think that alcohol is the one thing interstate commerce can't touch. Granted, I think it was a self-imposed limit, but even though they can change such things, they're not wont to do so.

              Waiting until I can hit reply again....

              • Ok, fine, then discrimination. I don't like to use that example because discrimination laws happen to be a good thing, but the federal government ignoring/defiling the constitution is not. Discrimination became federal through the manipulation of "interstate commerce" laws, just in case a black man is doing business in another state, that's what the laws are for.
  • by T.Hobbes ( 101603 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @05:14AM (#3571055)
    This reminds me of a diferent approach used to eradicate the tse-tse fly, wherein large quantities of sterile males are introduced into the wild population. This reduces the aggregate number of births; apparently, this almost destorys the tse-tse population over a 3-year period. Slashdot had a story [slashdot.org] on this awhile ago; google [google.com] gives more comprehensive links.
  • There's an old article [bbc.co.uk] discussing the possibilities of this experiment.

    If there's one thing I learned, it's the fact that humans tend to forget the complexity and interdependence of ecosystems; research must be done to map and investigate the relationship of the malaria pathogen with other organisms. This may sound crude, but in a way diseases can keep a balance in nature. If the human population keeps growing and searching for ways to fight diseases, they'll get back at us. Think of MRSA for example; all we need is time and enough administered vancomycin (our last resort against several multiple resistant bacteria) to induce complete resistance of pathogens against current antibiotics.
    • If the human population keeps growing and searching for ways to fight diseases, they'll get back at us. Think of MRSA for example; all we need is time and enough administered vancomycin (our last resort against several multiple resistant bacteria) to induce complete resistance of pathogens against current antibiotics.

      I hear what you're that we should be cautious with science and intraducing populations of organisms (ie Gypsy Moth) -- but to stop searching for cures to diesase is far from the right answer.

      What do you suggest we do? Just bend over and let disease flatten populations? Is it OK that we not fight a disease it its not in our backyard, or if most of the people afflicted are not the right color or relegion? What disease is worth fighting? AIDS? Cancer? Malaria has killed more than both put together. More reasearch has been performed on malaria than most diseases -- agian, you might be right that care should be taken, but this is one that is definitely worth fighting.

      What is comes down to is quality of life. If it weren't for medical science, we would still be dying in our early 40's. Medical science is not our enemy.

      • I am a medical scientist, and the last thing I wanted to imply is that medical science is a bad thing.. The only thing I wanted to make clear is that we don't have to rush all the time and that we have to think twice about consequences of our actions.. The first, sometimes most drastic way to get rid of a problem isn't always the best, especially in the long term.
        • Skilef,

          I completely agree with where you are coming from...but the article that you link to in your post quotes the scientists specifically paying regard to your concern. Depending on their review process, I don't think that they're necessarily jumping into anything.

          However, the scientists, including Dr Andrea Crisanti at Imperial College London, UK, say there would need to be a full political, ethical and scientific review before any such genetically-modified animals were released into the environment.

          This point was emphasised by Chris Curtis, professor of medical entomology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

          "I think one should have concern for the remote possibility that the modifications could make the mosquitoes able to carry a virus that they cannot carry at present," he told the BBC.

          See what I mean?

  • Genetically Engineered Malda-Resistant Mosquito??

    'Cause I didn't.

  • If they want mosquitos gone, they should convince RIAA executives that in the next 5 years, a mosquito might be used by someone to copy a 'hit single' for a friend.

  • They should genetically engineer malaria-resistant humans instead, right?

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