Okay, we all hate mosquitoes. But here in the continental U.S., what mosquitoes mostly do is annoy us. They don’t generally kill us with dreadful tropical diseases, like yellow fever or sleeping sickness, as they do in many other parts of the world.
Do we hate mosquitoes enough to plunge full-throttle into an experiment in genetic engineering–releasing swarms of artificially-created GMO mosquitoes, in hopes that these will wipe out all the regular mosquitoes? (http://www.mosquitomagnet.com/articles/gmo-mosquitoes-pros-cons)
Yep, they’re gonna try that in the Florida Keys. The way it’s supposed to work, the GMO skeeters are modified so that their offspring die before reaching maturity, and they will out-compete the regular mosquitoes and pretty soon, no more skeeters. And then the environment hangs out a “Help Wanted: New Mosquito Species” sign because there’s now an empty niche to fill. With worse mosquitoes, maybe.
Somebody please cue that Jurassic Park music. And switch on our flashing neon sign: the one that says We’re In Control!
Oh, come now–what could go wrong?
Well, we won’t know, will we, until after it has gone wrong and the genie is out of the bottle. Our modern egotism encourages us to blunder into things without regard for unforeseen consequences that could have been foreseen if only someone had taken a bit more time to think about it! But hey, we’re smarter than God, we’ve got Science, we can do anything we want–
Could we please think this over just a bit longer? Pretty please?