Mosquitoes — why? This article is trying to tell me they “play an important role in the ecosystems in which they exist,” but I refuse to read any more of that, because I know the answer already, which is “because the existence of a benevolent God is a fantasy.” But in a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers seem to suggest we could get rid of them for good … if only we are bold enough to try.
The study attempted to determine if altering the DNA of the Anopheles gambiae species of mosquito could help in the fight against malaria. (This particular species spreads malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.) According to NPR, male mosquitoes in the study were fitted with a DNA sequence known as a “gene drive,” which rapidly spreads a mutation. The mutation spread by the gene drive deprived female mosquitoes of a gene called “doublesex,” which they need for normal development — without it they can’t bite or reproduce. Together, researchers hoped, this would cause the mosquito population to, again according to NPR, “self-destruct.”
Researchers with PoloGGB, a life sciences lab in Italy, placed genetically altered mosquitoes in a lab setting that simulated the conditions of sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease kills more than 400,000 people per year. Also in the lab setting: normal mosquitoes. The study’s authors reported that — please pause for dramatic effect — the genetically altered mosquitoes destroyed the population of non-genetically-altered mosquitoes in less than a year.
"I think the benefits of it are so great and I have not found convincing arguments that this would have considerable detrimental effects," Jeantine Lunshof, a bioethicist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, told NPR.
Of course the study will need years of further, um, study, to determine whether it won’t fuck up everything worse. And it was done in a high-security lab, with all sorts of protocols in place to keep the mosquitoes from escaping and potentially, you know, fucking everything up worse. But, okay, how about this — maybe we try this on all mosquitoes?
I think that could be pretty good: no more mosquitoes in general. No more bites, no more diseases that come with the bites. To speak only for myself, I hate mosquitoes and I wouldn’t feel bad if they all died. Not to be rude to them. Science should at least consider it.