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Just when you thought genetically modified mosquitoes and mutated dinner entrees were the extent of biotech’s hunger to manipulate the genetic coding of the planet, scientists have now unleashed a plan to launch thousands of ‘frankenfly’ style insects into the wild in order to combat pests.
And just like we saw with the release of genetically modified mosquitoes, the altered insects are actually being pushed as a ‘green alternative’ to the use of chemicals. You see, British scientists claim that mutating the genetic code of the insects is actually a way of substituting for the use of chemical pesticides. Chemical pesticides used to lower the population of olive flies in Britain. The reality here, however, is that you are taking something damaging like chemical pesticides and replacing it with something far worse.
It’s like trading in your aging car for a bicycle, except in this case the bicycle also happens to include side effects like ‘may alter the genetic structure of the entire insect population’.
The Cochliomyia hominivorax has been present in North America from ancient times, and is even referenced in some ancient indigenous dialogues. Mention of the species has also been found in some various texts from the time of the Spanish American colonies. Control of the adult flies was an exercise in futility in the United States for quite some time, until the advent in 1958 of the sterile insect technique. Proposed by a pair of scientists, Edward F. Knipling and Raymond C. Bushland, and rapidly adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture, the technique centers on a unique reproductive handicap that prevents female hominivorax flies from reproducing more than once in their life-spans. The scientists reasoned that if it were possible to clinically sterilise and release huge numbers of male hominivorax as breeding time approached, fertile males might be out-competed and the majority of female flies would lay sterile eggs. Irradiating the males was the method used for sterilisation. As the agricultural industry was losing millions of dollars annually due to treatment and loss of fly-struck animals, this solution was quickly approved for testing. It was first applied on a large scale in the state of Florida, due both to the severity of the problem there and to the state’s unique island-mimicking geography, which allowed for relative isolation of the Florida hominivorax population. Following eradication of Florida’s Primary screwworm population in 1959 the program was applied throughout the southern United States, and eventually adopted through much of Mexico in 1972 and parts of Central and South America. The hominivorax was completely eradicated from the southern United States in 1966 and from Mexico in 1991. Primary screwworm has been effectively eliminated in the United States and Mexico. Livestock there continue to be vulnerable, however, and strict laws regarding animal inspection and reporting of suspected infestations remain in place.
reply to post by xuenchen
The release of sterile Screw Worm flies certainly worked before. Living on a farm with animals in the 50s the Screw worm fly problem was not a small matter.. The release was a super success..
What a grand idea!
Surely kicking out a block at the bottom of the food chain will have no effect higher up right.
Why don't these idiots wait until they are a little closer to perfecting genetic manipulation before they start screwing with things that could have a long lasting and potentially very negative side effect?
I guess when giant chunks of the food chain are missing and most of the worlds food supply does little more than cause cancer and birth defects they will realize it was a bad idea. Or probably not.
Someone needs to reign in these morons.