01 January 2009

an engineered approach to mosquito control

MSNBC has a good article today about an effort being made to control vector-borne illness (such as malaria and dengue fever) by using genetic engineering to manipulate the lifespan of mosquitoes. the idea is that if scientists can create a shorter-lived bug and release it into the wild, the population's average lifespan will eventually come down. since its the older insects that usually transmit disease, infection rates could be reduced.

a very interesting idea, i think. but i still have to hesitate, mostly at the idea of attempting to change the genome of a species as a whole & the potential effects on the ecosystem as a whole. although, as an advocate for eradication, i guess that may be a moot concern. i'll keep my eyes open for news of their research.

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