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Google’s life sciences unit is releasing 20 million bacteria-infected mosquitoes in Fresno

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by Agent_47, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

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    Verily, the life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has hatched a plan to release about 20 million lab-made, bacteria-infected mosquitoes upon Fresno, California — and that’s a good thing!

    You see, the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is prevalent in the area. Earlier this year, a woman contracted the first confirmed case of Zika in Fresno through sexual contact with a partner who had been traveling. Now there’s the fear of the inevitable mosquito-meets-patient if we don’t do something about it. Verily’s plan, called the Debug Project, hopes to now wipe out this potential Zika-carrying mosquito population to prevent further infections.

    Could messing with the mosquito population have some unforeseen disastrous consequences? Not likely. This particular mosquito species entered the area in 2013.

    So what’s the plan to get rid of them? Verily’s male mosquitoes were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, which is harmless to humans, but when they mate with and infect their female counterparts, it makes their eggs unable to produce offspring.

    Bonus, male mosquitoes don’t bite, so Fresno residents won’t have to worry about itching more than they usually would.


    No word from the company on how much something like this will cost, but Linus Upson, an engineer on the team releasing the mosquitoes, told MIT Technology Review the company planned to do something similar in Australia next.

    “We want to show this can work in different kinds of environments,” he told the magazine.

    Verily plans to release about 1 million mosquitoes a week over a 20-week period in two 300-acre neighborhoods in the Fresno area — the largest U.S. release to date of mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria.

    Those in the Fancher Creek neighborhood may notice a Verily van releasing healthy swarms of the little bugs throughout its streets starting today.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/14/g...llion-bacteria-infected-mosquitoes-in-fresno/
     
    sangos and Lion of Rajputana like this.
  2. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Perhaps something similar could be tried in India during the rainy season, at least in areas that are particularly susceptible to outbreaks of stuff like Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya etc.
     
  3. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    'Bacteria infected' lol. They are more GMO mosquitoes like a strain that dies early before being able to reproduce. The trouble is while this may solve short term problems there might be long term effects to the eco system and us.
     
  4. zebra7

    zebra7 Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Actually I don't like the idea of this kind to mess with the law of nature. There have been a long investment in the reseach to weaken the DNA stucture for the fight against the mosquito. Earlier it was the excess use of the DDT chemical, realising that slowly the mosquito becomes resistant to it but causes the destruction of many organism, birds, insects. When we try to bend the natural balance by the nature, we are interfering in the food chain.

    The logical way is to use the natural methods, such as analysing the other insects, birds, reptiles, fish, organism that feed on them.
     

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