Extincting mosquitoes and other blood-sucking, disease-spreading parasites

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Peter Dow, Dec 21, 2018.

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Should we extinct malaria-spreading mosquitoes and other blood-sucking, disease-spreading parasites?

  1. Yes.

    40.0%
  2. No.

    40.0%
  3. I'm not sure.

    20.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)
    If we could eliminate a species, should we?
    Science News. BY SUSAN MILIUS, 8:26AM, DECEMBER 17, 2018

    "For the first time, humans have built a set of pushy, destructive genes that infiltrated small populations of mosquitoes and drove them to extinction.

    But before dancing sleeveless in the streets, let’s be clear. This extermination occurred in a lab in mosquito populations with less of the crazy genetic diversity that an extinction scheme would face in the wild. The new gene drive, constructed to speed the spread of a damaging genetic tweak to virtually all offspring, is a long way from practical use. Yet this test and other news from 2018 feed one of humankind’s most persistent dreams: wiping mosquitoes off the face of the Earth."

    My opinion is YES we certainly should eliminate the species which is the main malaria-spreading mosquito, Anopheles gambiae and we should extinct that species without delay.

    It will be disappointing if this new method can't extinct the species as we hope but no-one should dare to fault those who rush to find out if it will work.

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    I trust that the World Health Organisation and national equivalents such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will soon be planning to apply this supremely efficient pest control method against every blood-sucking parasite which is a disease vector with the intention to extinct them all!

    Genetic engineering and medical science has served humanity with as momentous a breakthrough as was as the discovery and use of vaccines and antibiotics.

    Congratulations and all the rewards on Earth and all the blessings in Heaven to those who have contributed.

    Let's roll.
     
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    5,002
    CRASH! CRASH! CRASH!!
    Hark, what's that?
    Oh, nothing serious, just ecosystems collapsing.
    Who needs 'em?
     
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  5. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

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    215
    Species go extinct all the time and the ecosystem is just fine.
    Lighten up will ya?
     
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  7. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    11,383
    Yeah, geeze!

    Let's just force the extinction of a large part of the biome and see what happens. We don't know what the impact will be to the environment, but lets just do it and then whatever the negative effects are let's just assume we can probably fix it.

    Great plan. It sounds like something the president of the US would say, so what could go wrong?

    By the way are you nutz?
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,585
    I saw a movie or TV show some time ago in which somebody died of small pox; one character said that he thought small pox had been made extinct and another character said that there were still samples in laboratories. My first reaction was that I didn't much like the idea of deliberately making ANY species extinct.

    Sure, species go extinct all the time but there are repercussions. How can we predict the repercussions? In the case of mosquitoes specifically, how do we know that the diseases they carry won't find another avenue to attack us?
     
  9. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,837
    i think this post shows i should not bother any further with this thread.
     
  10. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    5,002
    In fact, the ecosystem is already very far from fine.
    There is a crucial difference between species "going extinct" - usually over a long period of time, during which their ecological niche was occupied by another species - and catastrophic extinction events - which is what human activity has been in the last century or two. We've done away with at least 75% of flying insects already. Any idea how many pollinators of human food crops that includes? How many beneficial insects that keep harmful organisms in check?
    Pretty much every time humans have meddled with an ecosystem to their own immediate benefit, they've screwed up something that later came back to bite them on the ass. Any idea what eradicating one disease vector will do to/for the adaptation of the pathogen it carries? What will overpopulate and spill over from its niche? What will happen afterward to the people who are saved from malaria?

    Sure, not my problem. I'll be dead soon anyway.
     
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  11. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    That's your "great" plan, not mine. I know what will happen to mosquitoes and the diseases they spread.
    I am also confident that the impact to the environment will be negligible.
    The person who thought up your own nutty "great plan" would be the one who is "nutz", not me.
     
  12. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    Other ways of spreading blood-born diseases exist - such as drug users sharing dirty needles. So we know that if a drug user with malaria shares a needle with another drug user then malaria could spread that way, as could many other diseases, like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

    So sure, it could and would happen in such cases but that's a smaller and easier problem to deal with than the mosquitoes spreading the disease.

    Just because one giant step forward doesn't solve everything is no reason not to take that giant step forward.

    There is no one step that mankind can take that will solve all our problems. People who think there is are not scientists.
     
  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,585
    It isn't wise to take a "great leap forward" when the bridge is out. It's even less advisable when you don't know the potential consequences. You can pretend you do but you don't.
     
  14. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    Species-specific extinctions by this method offer an alternative to the wide-spread use of non-species-specific insecticides, which would be good for the insects we favour such as bees.

    Yes I do. The pathogen is not going to develop wings and fly around biting other people. It needs the mosquitoes to do that.

    Well after we extinct Anopheles gambiae we will in good shape to extinct the related mosquito species who try to occupy its vacated niche.

    The reasonable expectation is that a lot of them will live healthy and productive lives and that's a very good thing.

    Thank you very much for your service to science and to humanity.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  15. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    The genetic engineers have just erected a brand new bridge to the promised land where people don't get bitten by a mosquito which gives them a life-threatening disease like malaria as a result. I suggest that we cross that bridge together but you stay on this side if you like because I am crossing over.
     
  16. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,585
    Not by yourself you're not. Your irradication project would require a lot more support (political, financial, etc.) than just one guy with an opinion on the Internet. I'm guessing that you're not going to get it.
     
  17. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    This isn't the flag of "just one guy with an opinion on the Internet".

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    The World Health Organisation has eradicated diseases before and it will do so again.
     
  18. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    5,002
    I hope you're right, but political powers have done crazier things.

    Many pathogens can and do, aamof, become airborne without growing wings; can infect a new, as yet unknown host; can adapt to changed conditions a helluva lot faster than humans can figure out what it's doing.
    BTW "extinct" is an adjective. Extinguish, terminate, extirpate and annihilate are verbs.
    Eradicate is a verb, and if it refers to a disease, it's a positive move.When it refers to an entire species that's part of a web of interdependent life-forms, it's a big red flag - even bigger than the blue one you keep flapping.

    You're welcome.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  19. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,585
    There's a difference between eradicating a disease and eradicating a species. Many diseases have been (practically) eradicated by simply providing clean water.

    And as I said, eradicating the mosquito doesn't necessarily eradicate the diseases that it carries. Diseases have been around for a long time; they're survivors; eliminate one avenue of attack and they're likely to evolve a new one.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    30,994
    There are species - especially diseases, but including certain parasites and so forth - that have adapted to humans specifically. Their extinction would be unlikely to disrupt ecosystems.

    There are organisms that have been spread by people to places and environments far from their evolutionary or "natural" homes. Their geographical extinction would be, by presumption, of potential benefit to the ecosystems they have disrupted.

    The worst of the several malaria spreading mosquitos falls into both categories.
     
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  21. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,002
    If that's so, I would still want to proceed with extreme caution. It's not just whom the mosquitoes live on that matters, it's who lives on the mosquitoes: what food-sources of the local fry, tadpoles, etc. have been displaced by them, for example. It's no use preventing malaria if the people are just going to starve because the baby fish have nothing to eat.

    Supply clean water, safe housing, vaccines, birth control and a secure food supply first.
    Exhaust all other avenues before such drastic action is taken.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  22. Peter Dow Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    I'm not proposing a one-size-fits-all method to counter all pathogens. Although the disease "Malaria" was originally blamed and named after "mal-air", bad air, it is now understood to be in fact a disease which is spread far and wide with the assistance of the pathogen's vector species, the mosquito.

    The verb "to extinct" is conjugated here.

    Humans are not dependent on any pest which sucks their blood and gives them diseases.

    I was wondering when the red flag would make its predictable appearance.

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    "The most infamous of the Red Flag Laws was enacted in Pennsylvaniacirca 1896, when legislators unanimously passed a bill through both houses of the state legislature, which would require all motorists piloting their "horseless carriages", upon chance encounters with cattle or livestock to (1) immediately stop the vehicle, (2) "immediately and as rapidly as possible ... disassemble the automobile", and (3) "conceal the various components out of sight, behind nearby bushes" until equestrian or livestock is sufficiently pacified.[1] The law never took effect, however, due to a veto by the state’s governor."

    My blue flag will be vetoing your red flag I predict.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    30,994
    Absolutely. Carelessness when mucking around with genetics is inexcusable.
    Since they occupy a previously unfilled niche, and are invasive, it is likely that their displacement of local fauna has been either minor or destructive.
    Sure. Meanwhile, ridding them of imported blights as severe and misery imposing as a lethal fever spread by hordes of biting insects,
    when it was you, in a sense, who imported both of them,
    is worth considering.
     
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