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Peter Dow

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

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

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



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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.

[IMG]

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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Elimination of some species, which are part of bigger network in their ecosystem, without truly understanding this ecosystem, can have unexpected, dramatic, irreparable consequences..

e.g. you should ask what are animals eating mosquitoes (which also includes their larvae stage of life!)

https://www.google.com/search?q=mosquito+eating+animals

https://www.orkin.com/other/mosquitoes/mosquito-predators/

 

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I have no problem targeting a species for extinction if we have a sufficient risk/reward/ethical scenario. Extinction already happens naturally, it happens accidentally by humans, and it happens as a result of purposeful acts by humans.

I don't know the details about mosquitos in particular, other than that they are a true human scourge. 

Edited by zapatos

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2 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I have no problem targeting a species for extinction if we have a sfficient risk/reward/ethical scenario. Extinction already happens naturally, it happens accidentally by humans

1

but seldom by design

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33 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I have no problem targeting a species for extinction if we have a sufficient risk/reward/ethical scenario. Extinction already happens naturally, it happens accidentally by humans, and it happens as a result of purposeful acts by humans.

I don't know the details about mosquitos in particular, other than that they are a true human scourge. 

mosquito_red_bar_chart.jpg

51 minutes ago, Sensei said:

Elimination of some species, which are part of bigger network in their ecosystem, without truly understanding this ecosystem, can have unexpected, dramatic, irreparable consequences..

e.g. you should ask what are animals eating mosquitoes (which also includes their larvae stage of life!)

https://www.google.com/search?q=mosquito+eating+animals

https://www.orkin.com/other/mosquitoes/mosquito-predators/

 

Species go extinct all the time and the ecosystem manages fine.

We shouldn't bother ourselves too much if in future some animals can no longer eat blood-sucking disease-spreading mosquitoes which we have extincted.

I expect that such animals would not be too bothered themselves but would just as easily find something else to eat.

Either way I am not going to research that question myself but be my guest, research away.

Just don't expect your results to get in the way of medical and health progress world-wide, because that would be unrealistic.

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2 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

mosquito_red_bar_chart.jpg

Species go extinct all the time and the ecosystem manages fine.

We shouldn't bother ourselves too much if in future some animals can no longer eat blood-sucking disease-spreading mosquitoes which we have extincted.

I expect that such animals would not be too bothered themselves but would just as easily find something else to eat.

Either way I am not going to research that question myself but be my guest, research away.

Just don't expect your results to get in the way of medical and health progress world-wide, because that would be unrealistic.

Sounds like you are advocating a permanent and potentially huge impact to earth's ecosystem without trying to understand, or even caring, what the downside is. 

Don't expect to win many followers on this site with that approach.

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10 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Sounds like you are advocating a permanent and potentially huge impact to earth's ecosystem without trying to understand, or even caring, what the downside is. 

Don't expect to win many followers on this site with that approach.

Not at all. I advocate only a tiny tweak to the Earth's ecosystem.

Actually I do understand that the "downside" is only for blood-sucking disease-spreading mosquitoes and the like and there is no "downside" for us humans nor for any of the other animals who are now unfortunate enough to get their blood sucked and get disease as a consequence too.

Oh do you post here in order to "win many followers"?

Edited by Peter Dow

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Mosquitos have inhibited our invasion and destruction of the rainforests, which is a good thing. Of the two evils, mozzies are the lesser.

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10 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Mosquitos have inhibited our invasion and destruction of the rainforests, which is a good thing. Of the two evils, mozzies are the lesser.

I suggest a division of labour. I will extinct mosquitoes and you can research other ways to save the rain-forests.

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44 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

I suggest a division of labour. I will extinct mosquitoes and you can research other ways to save the rain-forests.

Wouldn't you have to "extinct" all species of mosquitoes for this to work? Mosquitoes are an important link in the aquatic food chain and eaten by birds, bats, and other insects. I would hope that environmental impact would be considered at great length before such an action would be taken. 

 

There was a joke about this many years ago, all of earth's animals were deciding whether or not to eliminate humans, only dogs and mosquitoes voted to keep us...

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Only certain species of mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus, and only females of those species, can transmit malaria. Malaria is caused y a one-celled parasite called a Plasmodium.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anopheles

Malaria Vaccines are hopefulhttps://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(18)30320-2?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1931312818303202%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

 

Many animals feed on mosquitoes: bats, birds, fish, frogs...https://www.orkin.com/other/mosquitoes/mosquito-predators/ You remove a foodsource, by extincting mosquitoes. If all mosquitoes are gone, then many animals will probably starve.

1 hour ago, Peter Dow said:

I will extinct mosquitoes and you can research other ways to save the rain-forests.

:) It's essential to save rainforests, it's not essential to extinct mosquitoes...

Edited by Itoero

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50 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Wouldn't you have to "extinct" all species of mosquitoes for this to work? Mosquitoes are an important link in the aquatic food chain and eaten by birds, bats, and other insects. I would hope that environmental impact would be considered at great length before such an action would be taken. 

One day at a time. One species after another, we'll extinct as many mosquito species as we need to extinct but there are thousands of species and not all are an immediate threat to humans so we will focus our initial efforts against those species which are killing us now.

The "aquatic food chain" I have no problem with. It is the mammalian especially human blood food chain that I have a problem with mosquitoes and other parasites living off of. So if that particular blood food chain and its dependants goes the way of the dodo, that's a win for us.

You do the considering at length if you like but I am acting now, taking one day at a time.

50 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

There was a joke about this many years ago, all of earth's animals were deciding whether or not to eliminate humans, only dogs and mosquitoes voted to keep us...

There is a more useful Bible story about a world-engulfing flood which threatened all the land-dwelling species.

It tells of man called Noah who God called upon to build an Ark and it was he, Noah, and not any of the Earth's animals, who decided what other species to host on the Ark.  

Edited by Peter Dow

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Area wide sterile insect technique with transgenic mosquitoes is already widely implemented to eliminate insect vectors, including Anopheles: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946175/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20821345

 

Although, given that there are hundreds of species of plasmodium and thousands of species of mosquitoes that vector them, one has to wonder if the ecological vacuum left by eliminating one vector might be filled by something that makes you wish you had the species you wiped out back. The evolution of host and pathogen tends to proceed on a trajectory towards reduced virulence over time, which is why emergent zoonotic infections are often so nasty.  

Edited by Arete

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1 hour ago, Itoero said:

Only certain species of mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus, and only females of those species, can transmit malaria. Malaria is caused y a one-celled parasite called a Plasmodium.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anopheles

Malaria Vaccines are hopefulhttps://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(18)30320-2?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1931312818303202%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

 

Many animals feed on mosquitoes: bats, birds, fish, frogs...https://www.orkin.com/other/mosquitoes/mosquito-predators/ You remove a foodsource, by extincting mosquitoes. If all mosquitoes are gone, then many animals will probably starve.

:) It's essential to save rainforests, it's not essential to extinct mosquitoes...

It's "not essential" for you to live where malaria-spreading mosquitoes don't live because they can't or because a successful eradication project has already been implemented there.

People do beneficial things which are "not essential" all the time.

58 minutes ago, Arete said:

Area wide sterile insect technique with transgenic mosquitoes is already widely implemented to eliminate insect vectors, including Anopheles: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946175/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20821345

Indeed and that was the state of the art, until very recently.

The extinction method promises to be a considerably more efficient method of pest control, which I hope will prove to be self-sustaining and able to spread through a contiguous population.

58 minutes ago, Arete said:

Although, given that there are hundreds of species of plasmodium and thousands of species of mosquitoes that vector them, one has to wonder if the ecological vacuum left by eliminating one vector might be filled by something that makes you wish you had the species you wiped out back. The evolution of host and pathogen tends to proceed on a trajectory towards reduced virulence over time, which is why emergent zoonotic infections are often so nasty.  

I won't be wishing Anopheles gambiae back after we wipe it out but admittedly, we should be prepared to wipe out its successors also.

Edited by Peter Dow

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1 minute ago, Peter Dow said:

People do beneficial things which are "not essential" all the time.

That's true. But by killing all mosquitoes you remove a for many species important foodsource. The ecosystem is already completely messed up by our doing, are you anxious to speed up this 'messing up'?

Mosquitoes also pollinate flowers when they feed on nectar.

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23 minutes ago, Itoero said:

That's true. But by killing all mosquitoes you remove a for many species important foodsource. T

As I have already said "It is the mammalian especially human blood food chain that I have a problem with mosquitoes and other parasites living off of. So if that particular blood food chain and its dependants goes the way of the dodo, that's a win for us."

23 minutes ago, Itoero said:

The ecosystem is already completely messed up by our doing, are you anxious to speed up this 'messing up'?

I don't consider that actions to remove disease-spreading pests are "messing" anything worthwhile up.

I'm anxious to provide an efficient mosquito etc. pest control method for those places where other methods don't work well or are too expensive to invest in.

23 minutes ago, Itoero said:

Mosquitoes also pollinate flowers when they feed on nectar.

Well there are plenty more species ready to exploit the nectar food chain and pollinate flowers and would be exploiting more right now if it wasn't for all those blood-sucking disease-spreading mosquitoes also hogging the nectar sources.

Edited by Peter Dow

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3 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

Not at all. I advocate only a tiny tweak to the Earth's ecosystem.

A bit like introducing cane toads...

 

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1 hour ago, Peter Dow said:

The extinction method promises to be a considerably more efficient method of pest control, which I hope will prove to be self-sustaining and able to spread through a contiguous population.

How? That's not how deleterious mutations work...

 

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38 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

As I have already said "It is the mammalian especially human blood food chain that I have a problem with mosquitoes and other parasites living off of. So if that particular blood food chain and its dependants goes the way of the dodo, that's a win for us."

The problem with this food-blood chain exists because there are to many people. Many animal species  are extinct or almost extinct because there are to many people(including the decreasing number of bees). Global warming exists basically because there are to many people. Logic dictates we will extinct ourselves…(Like the dodo in Ice age :) )

 

45 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

don't consider that actions to remove disease-spreading pests are "messing" anything worthwhile up.

I'm anxious to provide an efficient mosquito etc. pest control method for those places where other methods don't work well or are too expensive to invest in.

We have shown before that when we implement our 'smartness' into an ecosystem, we are very likely to 'mess up' the (Nature)earth further.

 

53 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

Well there are plenty more species ready to exploit the nectar food chain and pollinate flowers and would be exploiting more right now if it wasn't for all those blood-sucking disease-spreading mosquitoes also hogging the nectar sources.

Species (like the bee) which already are strongly decreasing in number (also because of us). It's impossible to know what 'removing' all mosquitoes will cause regarding the rest of the ecosystem so why would we extinct them? It's been shown several times before that making such changes  in an ecosystem drastically changes Nature and even the Natural landscape.

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38 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

A bit like introducing cane toads...

 

Actually, a lot unlike "introducing cane toads".

  • No introducing a new species
  • No cane toads

However, if you want to eliminate cane toads, there's this new technique called a "gene drive" which might be suitable.

21 minutes ago, Arete said:

How? That's not how deleterious mutations work...

The story in Science News which I linked to in my OP explains

Quote

 

"To crash the lab population, the researchers put together genes for a molecular copy-and-paste tool called a CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive. The gene drive, which in this case targeted a mosquito gene called doublesex, is a pushy cheat. It copies itself into any normal doublesex gene it encounters, so that all eggs and sperm will carry the gene drive into the next generations. Female progeny with two altered doublesexgenes develop more like males and, to people’s delight, can’t bite or reproduce.

In the test, researchers set up two enclosures, each mixing 150 males carrying the saboteur genes into a group of 450 normal mosquitoes, males and females. Extinction occurred in eight generations in one of the enclosures and in 12 in the other (SN: 10/27/18, p. 6)."

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Peter Dow said:

The story in Science News which I linked to in my OP explains

 

Yes, I read it. The population was closed to migration and 1/3 of the population had a de novo deleterious mutation. That doesn't represent a model of global extinction, so I repeat, how? 

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2 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

One day at a time. One species after another, we'll extinct as many mosquito species as we need to extinct but there are thousands of species and not all are an immediate threat to humans so we will focus our initial efforts against those species which are killing us now.

The "aquatic food chain" I have no problem with. It is the mammalian especially human blood food chain that I have a problem with mosquitoes and other parasites living off of. So if that particular blood food chain and its dependants goes the way of the dodo, that's a win for us.

You do the considering at length if you like but I am acting now, taking one day at a time.

There is a more useful Bible story about a world-engulfing flood which threatened all the land-dwelling species.

It tells of man called Noah who God called upon to build an Ark and it was he, Noah, and not any of the Earth's animals, who decided what other species to host on the Ark.  

So you think middle eastern fairy tales are relevant to this discussion?  No wonder you discount the science of ecology.. 

Edited by Moontanman

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25 minutes ago, Itoero said:

The problem with this food-blood chain exists because there are to many people. Many animal species  are extinct or almost extinct because there are to many people(including the decreasing number of bees). Global warming exists basically because there are to many people. Logic dictates we will extinct ourselves…(Like the dodo in Ice age :) )

 

We have shown before that when we implement our 'smartness' into an ecosystem, we are very likely to 'mess up' the (Nature)earth further.

 

Species (like the bee) which already are strongly decreasing in number (also because of us). It's impossible to know what 'removing' all mosquitoes will cause regarding the rest of the ecosystem so why would we extinct them? It's been shown several times before that making such changes  in an ecosystem drastically changes Nature and even the Natural landscape.

"Mosquitoes diverged from other insects about 226 million years ago", according to Wikipedia, which is around the same time as the first mammals evolved. So there were blood-sucking mosquitoes for a couple of hundred million years plus before there were any people at all.

Bees are probably on the decline because of the use of powerful non-species-specific insecticides. If we switch to species-specific pest control methods - such as the one described here - then innocent and useful insects will be protected.

Well look even the development of agriculture changed the natural landscape somewhat but I don't see you starving yourself to death on principle of "going back to nature".

 

 

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1 hour ago, Arete said:

Yes, I read it. The population was closed to migration and 1/3 of the population had a de novo deleterious mutation. 

True.

1 hour ago, Arete said:

 That doesn't represent a model of global extinction, so I repeat, how? 

Well you claim that it "doesn't" but I hope that it does at least represent a model of the eradication of a closed inter-breeding population.

Clearly subspecies which remain isolated from the mutation will have to await their turn for eradication until such time as the mutation can be artificially introduced into that subspecies.

Are you asking how artificially to introduce the mutation into all the various isolated populations in such a way as to be sure that the species is truly extinct and not hanging on by a thread somewhere?

The story in Science News admits to possible flaws in the method.

Quote

This is the first time that a gene drive has forced a mosquito population to breed itself down to zero, says Omar Akbari of the University of California, San Diego, who has worked on other gene drives. However, he warns, “I believe resistance will be an issue in larger, diverse populations.” More variety in mosquito genes means more chances of some genetic quirk arising that counters the attacking gene drive. 

So we'll see what further experimentation reveals.

 

1 hour ago, Moontanman said:

So you think middle eastern fairy tales are relevant to this discussion? 

No more than your joke was relevant to this discussion.

4 hours ago, Moontanman said:

There was a joke about this many years ago, all of earth's animals were deciding whether or not to eliminate humans, only dogs and mosquitoes voted to keep us...

 

1 hour ago, Moontanman said:

No wonder you discount the science of ecology.. 

I don't "discount the science of ecology". Do you wonder if your own joke discounts the science of ecology? If not then why is your joke OK but my middle eastern fairy tale was not?

Edited by Peter Dow

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11 hours ago, Peter Dow said:

I don't "discount the science of ecology". Do you wonder if your own joke discounts the science of ecology? If not then why is your joke OK but my middle eastern fairy tale was not?

Because people don't take jokes seriously.

 

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