Scientists working on a way to eliminate malaria are confident that the such an elimination is just a decade away. Scientist have discovered how to modify the DNA code of mosquitos as a way to eliminate the insects from spreading malaria; thus, solving a tragic puzzle. When it first rolls off the tongue, it sounds like a wonderful thing: eliminate malaria, not a vaccine, less people die, eliminate malaria. Unfortunately, that’s not the entire story here, so lets dive into this.
Mosquito DNA, or gene, modification, aren’t the only insect or animal being researched for such a venture. Many scientist feel that humans could, in essence, control the animal kingdom. They cite instances such as animals suffering from “global warming” and animals who have taken over unnatural regions (Pythons) as being perfect examples of where DNA / Gene modification could help the world.
But I don’t agree. This is a really bad road to go down, it is a road that could have dangerous, unintended consequences. Today a Washington Post article is comparing people who don’t believe in vaccines to people who don’t trust man-made genetic modifications in the animal kingdom.
We all know how the story ends. Vaccines gave way to one of the greatest achievements in human health: the eradication of smallpox. But Jenner’s work never received praise during his lifetime and instead met with harsh skepticism. Many doctors refrained to use the word “vaccination” when inoculating people for fear that the patient would refuse the treatment.
That’s the way science goes — there’s always an aversion to new technology. Today, researchers are preparing for public resistance to a project that could revolutionize the field of genetic engineering.
So people not trusting vaccines led to vaccine makers lying about giving vaccines to people? Should we not take issue with this? My second point here is that vaccines have come a long way since this day and that way, well it hasn’t been such a good way. We used to have under a handful of vaccines at most, now we are trying to vaccinate every demographic, yearly, with all kinds of vaccines. Vaccine hysteria is absolutely profit driven business. Maybe back then it wasn’t? I’ll not comment. But either way, this excerpt is absolutely not relevant as its point is to compare people who don’t trust DNA modifications on animals and insects to anti-vaccination proponents. This is a really bad point.
Its success led to a tantalizing conclusion: If geneticists could isolate single traits in the genome of a single mosquito and engineer them, they could theoretically control the genes of the entire mosquito population.
Today, scientists are already designing mosquitoes that aren’t able to carry malaria and other experts say we’re only 10 to 15 years away from releasing them into the wild. By that time, the deadliest animal on the planet could be rendered harmless.
“It’s super exciting,” Burt said in an interview. “We’re doing a lot of good (to combat the disease), but the consensus seems to be that we’re not doing enough to eliminate malaria. There’s a desperate need for further intervention.”
They can “control the genes of the entire mosquito population.” What could possibly go wrong here? Well, actually, a whole lot. Even the slightest changes to the animal kingdom can have everlasting consequences on our ecosystem. If you kill off mosquitos through gene modification, do other mosquitos fill in? What other items thrive that may not have been intended to thrive? Have you been bit by a gene modified mosquito? Vaccines started as just a few. Now look. Does this sound familiar?
Some — like a genetically modified, fast-growing salmon — have been languishing in federal regulatory offices for 16 years. Roughly 50 other modified organisms are on the market or close to commercial use. This list includes things like a genetically engineered variety of mustard that is injected with DNA from fireflies; the mustard can then be grown to produce “natural” lighting. (source)
So your comparing vaccine deniers or those who are merely apprehensive of vaccines to the current group of people and organizations who aren’t welcoming human intervention into the animal kingdom? Maybe the connection is there, but for good reason. I do not want to live in a world whereas human beings control, manipulate our wildlife, for purposes of food supply or long-tail vaccination methods. This is dangerous grounds to tread on. In 20 years, at least 50 other species will be modified – just consider that for a moment. And by then, the means to modify genes will be 100 times faster (look at vaccine production today).
Is this what we really want?
The Washington Post can throw as many jabs as it likes at those who oppose vaccines (and yes, those were jabs). It changes nothing. Media intimidation carries little weight anymore, you are all bought and paid for by pharmaceutical companies. The commentary making the comparison was very left field and not relevant. But as it stands, yes, I oppose humans modifying animal and insect DNA for their various given reasons. So compare away.
image credit: pixabay
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