We have the power to wipe out mosquitoes and malaria—but is that a good idea?

mosquitoanddna
Image: Jill George/NIH

Gene drives have yet to be tested outside the lab, and even the most developed project to date — the anti-malarial gene drive in Anopheles mosquitoes — won’t be widely available for at least another five years. But many scientists and public-health experts believe that the benefits could be significant. Besides combating malaria, gene drives could be used to alter, or even eliminate, other disease-causing insects.

“This notion of permanently altering the genetics of an entire species — it goes against everything I was trained to think,” says [researcher Todd] Kuiken, who served on the United Nations’ technical experts committee for gene drives. “What’s hard to accept is that, at this point, it might end up being our best option. There’s this kind of fantasy that we can go back, that we can restore some lost Eden. But the reality is that we aren’t making those choices.”

Related article:  Greenlighting of AquAdvantage salmon could 'pave the way' to disease resistant pigs and other GMO animals

And even if we could, would it make sense to do so? After all, the rise in antibiotic resistance doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have invented antibiotics at all. Yet innovations inevitably change how we behave, and those changes have consequences.

Read full, original post: The Gene Drive Dilemma: We Can Alter Entire Species, but Should We?

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend