Quite awhile ago I read an article about scientists fighting an incurable disease spread by mosquitoes with…mosquitoes. Now I’m not a huge fan of genetically modified food…I think playing with genes in relative isolation (ie, instead of the food genes changing/evolving naturally so all the DNA is kept in balance) isn’t generally all that great of an idea. But this is kind of genius, when you think about it on the surface. Using bugs against themselves to knock out a disease that could eventually knock us all out? Seems like a great idea, doesn’t it?
Naturally though, it starts one to thinking. If we can modify a mosquito to contain or kill off a specific disease in it’s own kind, what’s stopping scientists from modifying them to “modify” the humans it likes to feed on? I mean, mosquitoes are everywhere (except Iceland, if I remember correctly). And I think I might have read that they’re the number one spreaders of disease in the world (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). So is it too much of a leap to think that scientists have already thought to themselves, “What if we just put disease vaccinations into mosquito DNA? Can we make it so if they bite someone (when, really), that certain immunities can be passed on through repeated bites throughout a person’s lifetime?
Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if it would truly work. Putting those blood-suckers to work for us, instead of killing them off as fast as possible every summer. But…there’s always a “but”.
If scientists could figure out how to do that, they could figure out how to modify the diseases these bugs already carry into something weapons-grade. And then can you imagine the underground arms deals for “swarms of mosquitoes” in a box, to use against your enemy? Or government militaries around the world spending an insane amount of money on bug repellent gear and spray, and still losing far too many soldiers to whatever the designer disease-du-jour happens to be?
Black market mosquito swarms, people. I feel another Insecticide story coming on…