Poll

Do we have a right deliberately to cause the extinction of Anopheles gambiae?

Yes
26 (81.3%)
No
2 (6.3%)
Maybe?
4 (12.5%)

Total Members Voted: 32

Author Topic: Do we have a right deliberately to cause the extinction of Anopheles gambiae?  (Read 3749 times)

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Offline haudace

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How would you eradicate fleas?

Genetically engineer a virus that kills all blood-sucking arthropods and only blood-sucking arthropods.


My issue with genetics means of extermination see below in italic bold.

They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

But we're not talking about killing all mosquito species, just A. gambiae.  If I remember what I've read correctly, A. gambiae does not fill any particular ecological niche that other mosquito species do not, and it is likely that other species would quickly fill its place in the food and pollination realms.  The only real ecological niche it fills is that of malaria vector.

A. Gambiae is not the only specie to carry genetic code that expresses their much disliked traits though. Targeting them for extermination may cause collateral damage to closely related species that could even affect insects beyond the genus.

I am assuming here the means of extermination would probably be genetic.

Huh?

First time I am engaging in conversation discussing the extermination of a specie - so I may stumble a few times (english is also not my first language). The most efficient means of extermination would probably require hijacking of some kind of a biological component unique to the specie. DNA is about the only thing that is unique enough. The genetic component to be exploited cannot be too unique though. This hijacking has to take into account natural biodiversity within the specie itself. An effective eradicating agent has to achieve a rate of extermination over 99% to ensure extinction (disclaimer: this is a manufactured statistic). Now, there may be closely related species to A. Gambiae. We are talking about the possibility of the targeting agent propagating and eradicating other mosquito like organisms. There is risk of cross-species transmission causing collateral damage. Heck, who knows, even zoonosis can occur.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 12:31:08 PM by haudace »

Offline Captain Video

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We started off with the extinction of anopheles gambiae by our hands but we are now talking about bedbugs and frogs. Even though the latter was a joke, it's still interesting to me that it was brought up.

So what is the line we cannot cross?

Any parasite that serves no purpose other than to feed on us can go. It would be like stamping out a germ or virus. The frog thing was silly, I was serious about the bedbugs, its my understanding that they are getting worse and that they can spread disease.
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Offline Captain Video

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We started off with the extinction of anopheles gambiae by our hands but we are now talking about bedbugs and frogs. Even though the latter was a joke, it's still interesting to me that it was brought up.

So what is the line we cannot cross?

Any parasite that serves no purpose other than to feed on us can go. It would be like stamping out a germ or virus.

How would you eradicate fleas? Would you consider getting rid of their vector hosts (cats, dogs etc...)?

Why would you even suggest that?  No I would not but you can add fleas to the list.
“Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin.”
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Offline daniel1948

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How would you eradicate fleas?

Genetically engineer a virus that kills all blood-sucking arthropods and only blood-sucking arthropods.


My issue with genetics means of extermination see below in italic bold.

They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

But we're not talking about killing all mosquito species, just A. gambiae.  If I remember what I've read correctly, A. gambiae does not fill any particular ecological niche that other mosquito species do not, and it is likely that other species would quickly fill its place in the food and pollination realms.  The only real ecological niche it fills is that of malaria vector.

A. Gambiae is not the only specie to carry genetic code that expresses their much disliked traits though. Targeting them for extermination may cause collateral damage to closely related species that could even affect insects beyond the genus.

I am assuming here the means of extermination would probably be genetic.

Huh?

First time I am engaging in conversation discussing the extermination of a specie - so I may stumble a few times (english is also not my first language). The most efficient means of extermination would probably require hijacking of some kind of a biological component unique to the specie. DNA is about the only thing that is unique enough. The genetic component to be exploited cannot be too unique though. This hijacking has to take into account natural biodiversity within the specie itself. An effective eradicating agent has to achieve a rate of extermination over 99% to ensure extinction (disclaimer: this is a manufactured statistic). Now, there may be closely related species to A. Gambiae. We are talking about the possibility of the targeting agent propagating and eradicating other mosquito like organisms. There is risk of cross-species transmission causing collateral damage. Heck, who knows, even zoonosis can occur.

It’s not necessary to cause the extinction of all blood-suckers. I would not mind if we did. But eliminating even 90% of the individuals would be an improvement. And in the case of Anopheles gambiae, where the object is to eliminate malaria, if we got the number of mosquitoes low enough, transmission of the disease would drop so low that it would virtually disappear. Reducing the incidence of malaria to 1% of its present rate would be a very desirable outcome, even though complete elimination would be even better.
Daniel
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Offline Captain Video

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I'm mostly agree with Daniel. I don't think all of them need to go but the ones that spread disease in both humans and animals should go for sure, Anopheles gambiae is a great place to start.

Ticks which cause lyme disease is another one.









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Offline haudace

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We started off with the extinction of anopheles gambiae by our hands but we are now talking about bedbugs and frogs. Even though the latter was a joke, it's still interesting to me that it was brought up.

So what is the line we cannot cross?

Any parasite that serves no purpose other than to feed on us can go. It would be like stamping out a germ or virus.

How would you eradicate fleas? Would you consider getting rid of their vector hosts (cats, dogs etc...)?

Why would you even suggest that?  No I would not but you can add fleas to the list.

I am trying to figure out where the line stops. For you, I guess it's mammals, most likely domesticated ones.

How would you eradicate fleas?

Genetically engineer a virus that kills all blood-sucking arthropods and only blood-sucking arthropods.


My issue with genetics means of extermination see below in italic bold.

They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

But we're not talking about killing all mosquito species, just A. gambiae.  If I remember what I've read correctly, A. gambiae does not fill any particular ecological niche that other mosquito species do not, and it is likely that other species would quickly fill its place in the food and pollination realms.  The only real ecological niche it fills is that of malaria vector.

A. Gambiae is not the only specie to carry genetic code that expresses their much disliked traits though. Targeting them for extermination may cause collateral damage to closely related species that could even affect insects beyond the genus.

I am assuming here the means of extermination would probably be genetic.

Huh?

First time I am engaging in conversation discussing the extermination of a specie - so I may stumble a few times (english is also not my first language). The most efficient means of extermination would probably require hijacking of some kind of a biological component unique to the specie. DNA is about the only thing that is unique enough. The genetic component to be exploited cannot be too unique though. This hijacking has to take into account natural biodiversity within the specie itself. An effective eradicating agent has to achieve a rate of extermination over 99% to ensure extinction (disclaimer: this is a manufactured statistic). Now, there may be closely related species to A. Gambiae. We are talking about the possibility of the targeting agent propagating and eradicating other mosquito like organisms. There is risk of cross-species transmission causing collateral damage. Heck, who knows, even zoonosis can occur.

It’s not necessary to cause the extinction of all blood-suckers. I would not mind if we did. But eliminating even 90% of the individuals would be an improvement. And in the case of Anopheles gambiae, where the object is to eliminate malaria, if we got the number of mosquitoes low enough, transmission of the disease would drop so low that it would virtually disappear. Reducing the incidence of malaria to 1% of its present rate would be a very desirable outcome, even though complete elimination would be even better.

Now the issue becomes the risk of creating resistant Anopheles gambiae... The remaining individuals will reproduce quickly and now we have insects that require an even more powerful genetic agent to exterminate. The rate of disease transmission also risks returning back to normal levels after some time. If we are to maintain a 10% of the population over time, at some point these creatures will acquire a mutation where the virus targeting anopheles will have zero effect. That's a worst case scenario in my opinion.







Offline Captain Video

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We started off with the extinction of anopheles gambiae by our hands but we are now talking about bedbugs and frogs. Even though the latter was a joke, it's still interesting to me that it was brought up.

So what is the line we cannot cross?

Any parasite that serves no purpose other than to feed on us can go. It would be like stamping out a germ or virus.

How would you eradicate fleas? Would you consider getting rid of their vector hosts (cats, dogs etc...)?

Why would you even suggest that?  No I would not but you can add fleas to the list.

I am trying to figure out where the line stops. For you, I guess it's mammals, most likely domesticated ones.

It could be the insects as well, in the OP Lat said

Assume for the purposes of this poll that we can be sure that there will be no unintended environmental impact from the loss of the species.

And I stick by that to go along with my comments, If eliminating the bedbug population somehow has a negative environmental impact I would not want to do it.  We almost eliminated them once already so I doubt that is the case.

I hate cockroaches too but an extinction would have a negative impact. 
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Offline daniel1948

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We started off with the extinction of anopheles gambiae by our hands but we are now talking about bedbugs and frogs. Even though the latter was a joke, it's still interesting to me that it was brought up.

So what is the line we cannot cross?

Any parasite that serves no purpose other than to feed on us can go. It would be like stamping out a germ or virus.

How would you eradicate fleas? Would you consider getting rid of their vector hosts (cats, dogs etc...)?

Why would you even suggest that?  No I would not but you can add fleas to the list.

I am trying to figure out where the line stops. For you, I guess it's mammals, most likely domesticated ones.

How would you eradicate fleas?

Genetically engineer a virus that kills all blood-sucking arthropods and only blood-sucking arthropods.


My issue with genetics means of extermination see below in italic bold.

They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

But we're not talking about killing all mosquito species, just A. gambiae.  If I remember what I've read correctly, A. gambiae does not fill any particular ecological niche that other mosquito species do not, and it is likely that other species would quickly fill its place in the food and pollination realms.  The only real ecological niche it fills is that of malaria vector.

A. Gambiae is not the only specie to carry genetic code that expresses their much disliked traits though. Targeting them for extermination may cause collateral damage to closely related species that could even affect insects beyond the genus.

I am assuming here the means of extermination would probably be genetic.

Huh?

First time I am engaging in conversation discussing the extermination of a specie - so I may stumble a few times (english is also not my first language). The most efficient means of extermination would probably require hijacking of some kind of a biological component unique to the specie. DNA is about the only thing that is unique enough. The genetic component to be exploited cannot be too unique though. This hijacking has to take into account natural biodiversity within the specie itself. An effective eradicating agent has to achieve a rate of extermination over 99% to ensure extinction (disclaimer: this is a manufactured statistic). Now, there may be closely related species to A. Gambiae. We are talking about the possibility of the targeting agent propagating and eradicating other mosquito like organisms. There is risk of cross-species transmission causing collateral damage. Heck, who knows, even zoonosis can occur.

It’s not necessary to cause the extinction of all blood-suckers. I would not mind if we did. But eliminating even 90% of the individuals would be an improvement. And in the case of Anopheles gambiae, where the object is to eliminate malaria, if we got the number of mosquitoes low enough, transmission of the disease would drop so low that it would virtually disappear. Reducing the incidence of malaria to 1% of its present rate would be a very desirable outcome, even though complete elimination would be even better.

Now the issue becomes the risk of creating resistant Anopheles gambiae... The remaining individuals will reproduce quickly and now we have insects that require an even more powerful genetic agent to exterminate. The rate of disease transmission also risks returning back to normal levels after some time. If we are to maintain a 10% of the population over time, at some point these creatures will acquire a mutation where the virus targeting anopheles will have zero effect. That's a worst case scenario in my opinion.

We just need to keep engineering new viruses. Not wait for the old one to lose efficacy, but hit them with a constant string of them.
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline arthwollipot

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They are pollinators. IIRC the analysis I heard on TWiS was that they are not specialized pollinators though, so loss of the hundreds of AG variants would not cause significant disruptions.

I don't know about that. Specialized pollinators appear to be extremely vulnerable to environmental factors - case in point bee colonies collapse. As we all know, loss of bees does not bode well for anyone in the food chain. I hate to say it but mosquitoes could be engineered to become viable replacements and continue the work of bees. Should be kept around as a backup plan?

But we're not talking about killing all mosquito species, just A. gambiae.  If I remember what I've read correctly, A. gambiae does not fill any particular ecological niche that other mosquito species do not, and it is likely that other species would quickly fill its place in the food and pollination realms.  The only real ecological niche it fills is that of malaria vector.

In our Holocene era characterized by mass extinctions at the hands of humans, I am not so confident other species are able to quickly fill the void and take over new niches.

Given how life on this planet enthusiastically colonises every conceivable biome - and not a few inconceivable ones - I think it would be inevitable.
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