A plague is killing millions of people. A genetically engineered insect is built to eradicate the plague and save lives. Fortunately, the insect is engineered to die off after one generation….or is it?
Sounds like the plot summary of MIMIC, doesn’t it? Well this time, I’m talking about a British biotech company that says they can genetically engineer mosquitos to control the spread of dengue fever, which, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, kills 5 million people a year.
The company, Oxitec, is using a variation of a proven process that helped eliminate the screwworm (heh heh) and the Mediterranean fruit fly in North America. However, instead of using the common “sterile insect technique” (remember Jurassic Park? Same principle), they are engineering the insects to be dependant on tetracycline.
Didn’t these people listen to Jeff Goldblum??? NATURE FINDS A WAY!!!
I’m kidding. Really, this could turn out to be an amazing new technology. I’m willing to be open-minded about genetically engineered organisms if millions of lives could be saved. And I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted web personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
But really, chemically dependent steril mosquitos aren’t half as cool as insect cyborgs. Check out this article about researchers at Cornell that developed remote control moths. My only hope that this technology will be used only for good – like putting frickin’ cameras on their heads and piloting them towards the girl’s locker room.