GMO Food

Hooray for FrankenMosquitoes in the Florida Keys!

Genetically modified mosquitoes combat disease

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FrankenMosquitoes
change.org

Researchers in the Florida Keys are seeking to release millions of male mosquitoes genetically modified to pass along lethal genes to their progeny when they breed with wild females. Naturally, a claque of anti-technology loons are protesting the release, evidently preferring they and their neighbors continue to be bitten by the pests, reports the New York Times. From the Times:

"This is the first time they are releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the country, and we have not given our consent," said Mila de Mier, a Key West resident and real estate agent who helped spearhead a four-year campaign to block the trial until more research is conducted. "People can't be experimented on without their consent. When the mosquitoes are released, there is no way to recall it."

Actually there is no need to "recall" the flying vexations. Developed by the biotech company Oxitec, the FrankenMosquitoes and their larval progeny must imbibe tetracycline in order to survive. Since there are practically no natural sources of the antibiotic, the disease carrying pests die before they can bite people. In addition, only female mosquitoes suck blood, so the males will leave people alone. As the Times notes:

Oxitec seeks to drastically reduce the population of the dangerous and hard-to-kill Aedes aegypti here by freeing male mosquitoes with a specially made gene designed to kill their offspring after they mate in the wild. This, in turn, could blunt the spread of dengue and chikungunya, viral diseases that have no cure and are spreading quickly around the world.

Field trials in other countries have already had success in reducing the populations of these disease carrying vermin. Let's hope that the FDA and other U.S. regulators hurry up and approve this project. I urge Oxitec to develop soon similarly modified Asian Tiger mosquito males so that I can release them in my backyard.

In any case, other researchers are developing gene drives that could eliminate all members of targetted pest species in the wild. That will surely give technophobes the shakes.

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  1. FIRE BAD!

    1. BREAD GOOOOOD!

      1. GLUTEN BAD! ADAM HAVE CELIACS!

        1. We’re going to make espresso!

  2. Researchers in the Florida Keys are seeking to release millions of male mosquitoes genetically modified to pass along lethal genes to their progeny when they breed with wild females.

    They got the idea from observing male humans in Florida.

    1. *injects Hugh’s mom*

  3. I’ve been assured that life, uh, finds a way.

    1. Isn’t this how Jurassic Park started?

      1. Late to the party as usual. I need a new job with more unstructured Internet time.

  4. In addition, only female mosquitoes suck blood

    Our species aren’t so different after all…

  5. …the FrankenMosquitoes and their larval progeny must imbibe tetracycline in order to survive. Since there are practically no natural sources of the antibiotic, the disease carrying pests die before they can bite people. In addition, only female mosquitoes suck blood, so the males will leave people alone.

    This is where I would post the gif of Jeff Goldblum’s character from Jurassic Park saying “Life finds a way” if I weren’t so damn lazy.

    1. Or his character from “The Fly” barfing on another guy’s hand.

      Different insect, but…

    2. “Tetracycline”? Should that not be Ketracel White?

  6. Please send them all to Michigan. Mosquitoes SUCK (hah! see what I did there?).

    RELEASE THE FRANKENSQUITO!!!

      1. Krause’s studies focus on climate change in the Arctic and how the changing spring season will affect birds migrating to the North Slope. “The question that we’re really asking about is timing,” he said, and how patterns falling out of synch between green up, the emergence of insects, and birds’ migratory patterns affect their populations.

        Let me guess. It will follow the well established predator-prey cycle?

        1. No idea about his research. I posted it for the pictures of the mosquitoes.

          I am sure the birds will adjust.

    1. One of the nice things about living in Tucson is the lack of mosquitos and other flying vermin.

      I’m averaging about two (2) mosquito bites per year. When I lived in Dallas, I’d get that many on the way to my car every morning.

  7. I’d really like to the explanation of how this constitutes experimenting on people. I am sure it is quite amusing.

    1. Gene transfer. Soon we’ll all be tretracycline addicts, stabbing each other in alleys to get our latest hit.

        1. [Jots notes for SyFy original movie pitch.]

  8. They should modify mosquitoes to do something about the pythons.

    1. Dear God NO! Think of the python/mosquito arms race that would ensue! Also, the thought of mosquitoes big enough to fight pythons is…disturbing to say the least.

      1. Travel to Michigan or Minnesota sometime. They got themselves some really big skeeters.

        1. Two sizes of mosquitoes in Minnesoda. The first size are the small ones that can fit through the screen. The other size are the ones big enough to open the screen door themselves.

  9. “This is the first time they are releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the country, and we have not given our consent,” said Mila de Mier, a Key West resident and real estate agent

    She sounds as informed as the anti-cell tower idiots that visited my house.

    I tell you what hun, you throw away all that nasty technology that makes your fat, overly accessorized, pampered ass easier, and better and go back to the good old days of cholera epidemics.

    1. Wonder how she feels about flouridation.

      Or Obamacare. I didn’t ask for that experimentation.

    2. I had to sit through a City Council meeting that featured nearly two hours of anti-cell tower idiots gibbering on about a single new cell tower.

      I couldn’t help but notice every single one of them had a smartphone.

  10. “In any case, other researchers are developing gene drives that could eliminate all members of targetted pest species in the wild.”

    I once mentioned to my doctor that if I could I would exterminate all mosquitos, ticks, lice, fleas, etc. Every single one in the world. She cringed as if I had said I wanted to blow up the world.

    What the fuck?

    1. Oh, and Mila de Mier should immediately go fuck herself.

      1. Cuz lord knows nobody else is gonna do it.

        1. Wow, managed to make the link completely invisible.

    2. Probably from food chain disruption. Mosquitoes are a part of the diet for bats and some birds. No idea how much, though.

      Ticks, fleas and lice, however, can fuck right off.

      1. “…food chain disruption.’

        I know, but I don’t give a shit.

        Kill ’em all.

      2. What else are chimps going to pick at?

        1. All that picking just subtracts from time they could be fapping and diddling. I don’t think they will complain.

          1. Then we’ll be overrun by chimps. And then they’ll BLOW IT UP.

    3. I had read an article that claimed mosquito larvae formed an important base level of the freshwater food chain. If you completely got rid of them fish populations and animals that depended on.them would crash.

      1. I don’t give a shit. A new balance would be arrived at very quickly. One without bloodsuckers.

        1. And trout. No thanks.

          Mosquitos are a price I am willing for other people to pay so I can go flyfishing.

    4. Why do you hate bats?

      1. Bats are the catalyst to the discovery of gun powder leading to firearms, which Hitler used to kill Jews. Why to you hate the Jews warren?

        1. interested, newsletter, etc.

  11. a Key West resident and real estate agent who helped spearhead a four-year campaign to block the trial until more research is conducted.

    What are the odds this life member of Party of Science believes we Must Act Now! to keep Key West from disappearing beneath an ever-warming, ever-rising sea?

    1. I feel like as a real estate agent, having fewer deadly-disease-carrying-mosquitoes would increase the demand for people living there.

      Not that you can’t be against something that benefits you directly, but… ah fuck it, she’s an idiot.

      1. I phrased that like shit. I’m not a real estate agent, I was trying to speak for her. You all get what I mean.

        1. I got what you meant – you wanted deadly disease carrying mosquitoes to attack her, and eliminate your competition as a real estate agent, and then you would sell people, as the demand has increased!

    2. half the locals in KW are real estate agents. Problem is the island is only 2×4 miles to property is very finite. Also most of the private landlords don’t know shit about FL renters law.

  12. Wait a minute.

    I have changed my mind entirely. After looking into this further I see that Mila is correct.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcTyAT4QJxY

  13. YEah, but waht are they gonna do about a Sharknado? They got Hammerheads and bulls and whites in those waters.. one good storm, were looking at a massacre.
    Just saying.. yesterdays sci fi is todays reality..

    1. Just put up pictures of Debbie Wasserman Shultz to scare them off.

      Works EVERY time.

  14. only female mosquitoes suck blood, so the males will leave people alone.

    Not true. Males are the ones that buzz around your head while your trying to fall asleep (females don’t buzz).

  15. This seems like a horrible idea. I think we can all agree that the more government interferes in complex systems like the economy the worst the outcomes are as unintended consequences rear their ugly heads.

    I wouldn’t think the ecology of the entire planet would be much less complex than a state run economy, but somehow this is all going to turn out just fine… nope no unintended consequences here!

    It’s one thing if Venezuela gets it wrong when they determine how much toilet paper to produce this quarter. It’s a whole nother ballgame if we go about causing unforeseen mutations/behaviors amongst animals in the ecosystem.

    1. “It’s a whole nother ballgame if we go about causing unforeseen mutations/behaviors amongst animals in the ecosystem.”

      Oh surely you can tell us what type of “mutations” or “behaviors” this could cause, hmmm? Other than death without leaving progeny, I mean.

      1. Unforseen… look it up.

    2. I tend to agree, having been on the horrible receiving end of another “cunning plan” using insects. These fuckers get EVERYWHERE and they bite and stink.

  16. I’m sure I’m just slow, but how is this supposed to work? If these males breed offspring that die, won’t that wipe out the genetically modified variant while leaving the non-modified variants as they are. Natural selection and all.

    1. They breed with the females, then the non-modified variants do not get their mating on and create viable offspring. It is crowding out the viable males.

      1. So then it only reduces the population for one breeding cycle, right?

    2. I think it’s supposed to be just like a very specific toxin. Will have to re-apply every year but shouldn’t hurt anything (directly) except for mosquitos.

  17. What are they gonna do about fire ants? I often think about moving back to FL for a number of reasons. Who doesn’t love heat stroke, amirite? But I fucking hate fire ants!

    1. gasoline?

      1. Molten aluminum is also an interesting solution to the fire ant problem.

        1. I have previously dropped ignited magnesium ribbon strips into a fireant mound.

          “Snap, crackle, pop.”

          Particularly cool at night …

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