Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Designer Bugs

The little post-modernist voice in the back of my head is whispering that releasing transgenic mosquitoes into the wild may have several unintended consequences.

But the intended consequence of decreasing malaria is a good one. The mosquitoes will be delighted with global warming and the inevitable increase in wetlands associated with rising sea levels, which will make malaria even more virulent.

I do wonder how the gene that makes these transgenic mosquitoes glow in the dark will affect predation rates by dragonflies on the transgenic mosquitoes. For this scheme to work at all, the transgenic mosquitoes must outbreed regular mosquitoes.

I also wonder who signs off on something like this. Does the UN make the ultimate decision on this? By consensus or by a simple plurality? This genie will be impossible to put back in the bottle once set free.

No comments: