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Happy News

Unless you want to find a justification for ending global capitalism of course.

A few weeks ago I reported on how malaria deaths, the single greatest threat that we think will meet us from a warmer planet, are already on a rapid retreat – with a decrease by one-third in Africa over the last decade. Today I learned that scientists may be close to rolling out mosquito-specific genetic modifications that enable males to mate with females (the carriers of malaria) and then prevent them from having offspring. The benefit of this modification is that it is species specific, so is not like soaking entire ecosystems with the insecticides that were the major concern of Carson and other ecologists.

This would be wonderful news for the million-plus people that currently die every year from malaria exposure, and perhaps even lays the groundwork for dealing with other debilitating mosquito-borne diseases.

5 Responses to “Happy News”

  1. Harry says:

    Big happy news, WC, not only for malaria, but for Nile virus. This is good news not just for millions of Africans, but also for Oswegans and your coffee buddies in Canada. The cows of the world will be contented.

  2. chuck martel says:

    The mosquitoes don’t know that they’re evil carriers of a debilitating disease that afflicts humans. They think that we’re the bad guys. Now we’re going to mess up their reproduction and maybe make them extinct, rather than attacking the pathogen that they’re packing around. Aside from the obvious, there will doubtlessly be some Bastiat-type unseen ramifications if this approach is successful. Birds that eat these insects might starve, for instance. Merchants that retail mosquito nets and bug dope could go out of business. Lotharios once reluctant to stroll the village streets at night in search of feminine companionship for fear of bug bites might be able to spread STDs. A true progressive wouldn’t want this.

  3. Brent says:

    I see the dreaded “unintended consequence” just around the corner…

  4. Harry says:

    Chuck, you make a great point about exterminating the mosquitoes, and unforeseen circumstances. Rizzo’s Canadian coffee purveyors might pause at the thought of applying the same science to the black-headed and green-headed flies, plus the mosquitoes you can kill with a single swat, while you are trying to catch the big fish, fed by insects gorged with the blood of wild carnivores.

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