As we all know, the development of mosquito is complete metamorphosis, and its life cycle is divided into four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. In the first three periods, they lived in water and adults lived on land. Adults begin to appear from April to May every year, and reach the peak from August to September. After October, the weather gradually turns cold, and mosquitoes begin to stop breeding and die in large numbers.
And mosquitoes can spread many diseases, such as dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever and so on. Take malaria for example. According to the World Health Organization, there are still 92 countries and regions with high or moderate prevalence, especially in Africa, South Asia, Central America and South America. There are as many as 200 million people infected with malaria every year, and more than 2 million people die of malaria.
Recently, a controversial topic about mosquitoes has emerged, that is, the crazy “anti mosquito program” launched by the United States, which has aroused the concern and fear of many scientists.
Inspired by genetic engineering, Professor George Dimopoulos and his team from Johns Hopkins University’s School of public health in the United States introduced a new method of malaria prevention and control, namely transgenic technology. They implanted a new gene into the mosquito so that it could synthesize the new protein to kill its own malaria parasite. This approach minimizes the possibility that Plasmodium will develop resistance to these proteins, thereby reducing the possibility that they will infect humans through mosquitoes.
In addition, OXITEC, a British biotechnology company, has carried out a similar experiment. They have created a male mosquito with genetic variation. Since all the mosquitoes that will bite are female mosquitoes, there is no possibility that this mutant mosquito will be able to transmit diseases. When the mutant mosquitoes mate with other mosquitoes, their male offspring will die, and over time, the mosquitoes will eventually disappear into our world.
And this summer, in order to prevent mosquitoes from spreading diseases such as malaria, these genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in Florida and Texas in the southern United States, and they plan to release millions of genetically modified male mosquitoes every week.
This sounds like a good thing. Without mosquitoes, you won’t be bitten all over in summer, and you won’t hear the annoying sound of “buzzing” in the middle of the night. How nice!
But seriously, is this kind of human intervention in nature really a good thing? You know, although the mosquito is annoying, its existence is very meaningful.
If the mosquito disappears and becomes extinct, it will be replaced by other insects in the niche, and the ones that replace it may be more severe and annoying. For example, Culicoides, which are much more aggressive than mosquitoes, are small black insects with almost no wings. They like to fly in groups in the wild. Even through thick jeans, they can bite your skin.
Moreover, many experts said that the current government supervision and scientific evaluation of genetically modified mosquitoes can not ensure their reasonable deployment.
Therefore, once the plan is implemented, some effects may be seen in a short time. As a similar project done in Brazil before, the number of mosquitoes can be reduced more effectively in the early stage, but in the later stage, one or two “super drug resistant” mosquitoes may evolve. You should know that the breeding speed of mosquitoes is very fast, and one generation can be produced in about 10 days. Once the mosquito is released, it will be able to survive Now this kind of drug-resistant mosquito, then everything will return to the origin, and at this time the mosquito will have another “drug resistance”.
Therefore, once this plan is implemented, it will undoubtedly bring great changes to the ecology, and the consequences may be unbearable to human beings. We must analyze the advantages and disadvantages clearly, and never start blindly.
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