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Mosquitos


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#1
tygrus

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If we want to stop suffering and death, why don't we once and for all take this species right out of existence.      They can do it with CRISPR and within a few years there would be no mosquitos on the planet.   I don't think anyone would miss them and I don't think the food chain would be drastically affected.  Just do it!


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#2
wjfox

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Huge efforts are being made right now to combat mosquitoes with genetics. I think we'll see a complete cure for malaria within 5-10 years. Eradicating mosquitoes completely would take much longer and they'd need to assess the possible side effects, disruption to food chains, etc.



#3
nomad

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With rising temperatures meaning that their range(and the range of the diseases they carry) will increase every decade, it is more important now than ever to suppress mosquitoes. Eradicating them might be a mistake though, who knows what effect it will have on bats and dragonflies and the rest of the food web. Only time will tell when we get there, I guess.


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#4
Unity

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Won't this affect the food chain?  Mosquitoes are obviously being eaten by something.  If all of a sunden hundreds of thousands to millions of metric tonnes of biological matter are wiped out globally then what will replace that?  If we do this how could we reverse it?



#5
tygrus

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If there is no outrage against rhinos and lions going extinct, I am sure nobody will notice of mosquitos are gone.



#6
Outlook

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Won't this affect the food chain?  Mosquitoes are obviously being eaten by something.  If all of a sunden hundreds of thousands to millions of metric tonnes of biological matter are wiped out globally then what will replace that?  If we do this how could we reverse it?

 

I was thinking the same thing, but apparently some ecologists don't think the eradication of mosquitos would bring about heavy losses in nature, and the benefits of doing so far exceed the consequences.

 

http://www.nature.co...ll/466432a.html


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#7
Unity

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Thanks, that was interesting, but it sounds even in that article that opinion is mixed among scientists. Perhaps this is one aspect in which I am "conservative" I trust evolution more than a scientist's opinion. I mean do we really want a repeat of for example what pesticides are doing to the honeybee? I just don't think it is wise. I will try to draw up some entropy calculations to estimate the effect. Actually, also to use another analogy, if mosquitos provides 2% of the energy of a population of bats then imagine if global oil production dipped by 2%. The stock market would likely go nuts. You could argue that the dip would be replaced by other energy sources like nuclear, renewables, or natural gas, but the market would still react negatively and fish, bats, etc do not exactly have formal global systems to move energy production around like human beings do. I mention this because betting is beginning to be seen in some scientific circles as a more accurate way to predict outcomes for example there is a "fantasy" supreme court where people bet on the outcomes of supreme court decisions and the top human player has an 80% accuracy rate even beating out machine learning algorithms designed to predict the outcomes. Anyhow, I will look more into it.
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#8
TheComrade

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I was thinking the same thing, but apparently some ecologists don't think the eradication of mosquitos would bring about heavy losses in nature, and the benefits of doing so far exceed the consequences.

 

Maybe yes, maybe not, but:

 

Perhaps this is one aspect in which I am "conservative" I trust evolution more than a scientist's opinion...

 

Agree. Instead of mosquito genocide, let's just focus on more effective repellents. So, i'd rather voted for #savethemosquitos even though i personally hate them.



#9
Recyvuym

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Yeah, I've heard mosquitos could disappear from the ecosystem without much impact, but as far as I'm aware, that's purely hypothetical, science in a vacuum. The planet is so sophisticated and interconnected that it wouldn't surprise me if we exterminated mosquitos, only to find out they were a lot more important than we thought. Wouldn't be the first time we tried to interfere with nature and things went horribly wrong.


I loudly predicted the second wave of the Global Financial Crisis would begin by the 31st of March 2017. But I was wrong! Observe my well-deserved public humiliation here, here and here. Let this be a warning to all of you who try to guess the future. Yes, that means you, reading this now! Put that prediction back in your pocket! Do it now, before it's too late! (Also check out my userpage, it's even funnier.)


#10
Outlook

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It reminds of rocky mountain locusts, which were once locusts that had plagued American farmers. They went extinct from farming anyways though. MinuteEarth explains it better:

 


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#11
caltrek

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Not that I wish to detract from discussions on how to address the root of the problem, but here is an interesting alert regarding the Zika virus:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/m...wr/mm6503e1.htm

 

 

Some highlights:

 

 

 

 

  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947. 
  • There is no commercially available test for Zika virus.
  • No specific antiviral treatment is available for (the) Zika virus disase.
  • No vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection is availabe.
  • Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
  • Health care providers are encouraged to report suspected Zika virus disease cases to their state or local health departments to facilitate diagnosis and mitigate the risk for local transmission in areas where Aedes species mosquitoes are currently active.

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#12
tygrus

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Agree. Instead of mosquito genocide, let's just focus on more effective repellents. So, i'd rather voted for #savethemosquitos even though i personally hate them.

 

 

Using pesticides or repellents is just another chemical to add into our own food chain plus it breeds resistance just like infections.  Do you want acres of trees and parks and farmland sprayed with something else?  Do you want another chemical to rub on your kids everytime they go out?

 

There is no natural adaptation for a genetic self destruct mechanism which we could implant in these blood suckers. 

 

Also its really a display of our weakness as a species that we are always talking about transcending and exploring the galaxy but we let a little parasite like this take millions of people to an early grave.   Talk about Achilles.

 

I say we crispr the SOBs out of existence right now.



#13
Unity

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#14
Recyvuym

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tygrus, on 31 Jan 2016 - 04:28 AM, said:

 

There is no natural adaptation for a genetic self destruct mechanism which we could implant in these blood suckers. 

 

 

 

What could possibly go wrong?

 


 

Also its really a display of our weakness as a species that we are always talking about transcending and exploring the galaxy but we let a little parasite like this take millions of people to an early grave.   Talk about Achilles.

 

 

 

 

And also climate change, economic ruin, war, starvation, cancer, falling down flights of stairs... I agree it's a little ridiculous we talk about colonising space when we haven't overcome these things. Humans really are more vulnerable than we give ourselves credit for.


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#15
caltrek

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I had almost forgotten about this thread on Integrated Pest Management that I started some months ago:

 

http://www.futuretim...est-management/

 

Here is an extract from my opening post, which I believe may be applicable to mosquito abatement:

 

 

 

So what is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

 

IPM is a concept that incorporates both older and newer methods of pest control techniques.  It represents a comprehensive approach to pest management. Techniques used in IPM include, but are not restricted to, the use of predatory insects and birds...careful monitoring of insect populations levels to reduce the volume of chemical usage, and the artificial introduction of pheromones to interfere with mating pests by keeping them from locating each other.  IPM, as a general practice, enjoys the support of ecologists, farmers, chemical industry representatives and other major actors within the agricultural industry.  Disagreement does exist as to the extent to which IPM can displace more chemically dependent methods of pest...control, and its applicability varies...

 

Agricultural research in the area of genetic engineering may become an important factor in the future of pest control.  Use and overuse of pesticides poses potential health risks to farmworkers and to the general public. 

 

 

 


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#16
tygrus

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Maybe the secret isn't wiping out mosquitos cause they are just carriers.  Maybe modifying the virus they carry so they infect and kill mosquitos as soon as they get it and thus rarely getting to humans.   Thats more natural I would think.  Anybody going to miss a virus?



#17
Recyvuym

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But again, introducing any viral strain into the ecosystem is a huge risk. Humans don't have the best track record when it comes to fiddling around with this part of nature, or dumping this species here to solve some human problem. Look at cane toads in Australia, for just one example. Suppose there's a 1% chance the virus will spread to other species, and could end up becoming the next Black Plague. Is that a risk you would take, if it were your call?

 

Also, one consequence of successfully eradicating mosquitos will be less people dying, therefore more babies being born, therefore less space for everyone on an already hugely overcrowded planet. I am not advocating that we don't try to save millions of people, just pointing out cause and effect. It would be nice if we could, say, get rid of mosquitos and address the cultural lag that is causing billions of impoverished people to continue to reproduce at pre-Industrial rates. Which is what we should have done at the advent of the medical revolution in general. Better late than never, though.


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#18
Jakob

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realistic_criteria.png

Just sayin', guys.

 

Randall Munroe, xkcd, CC-BY-NC



#19
Unity

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Maybe the secret isn't wiping out mosquitos cause they are just carriers. Maybe modifying the virus they carry so they infect and kill mosquitos as soon as they get it and thus rarely getting to humans. Thats more natural I would think. Anybody going to miss a virus?

No, but the problem with this is that virus reproduce so quickly it is almost guaranteed to lead to a mutation, one that could be very dangerous.

I think if anything we should do things like draining swamps/stillwater particularly in places where things like Zika abound. It is more time consuming, expensive, and labor intensive but it will not cause some crazy black swan event and over the next few decades mobilizing the global poor in work that is lucrative to their scale and in the common interest would be a very good idea.

So if someone who has the money and would like to philanthropic work like Bill Gates is perhaps listening then mobilize third world labor that is relatively cheap to do what california did when it was threatened with west nile just a few short years ago.

#20
FTLVRM

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We don’t have to eradicate every mosquito to make this planet more comfortable for humans. Male mosquitos feed exclusively on plant nectar, and there are some species that don’t need a blood meal to produce eggs. And most blood sucking mosquitos are selective feeders. There are several species that rarely target humans or mammals. I think we should use our technology to significantly reduce or irradiate the species that primarily target humans and livestock.






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