The War Against Mosquitos
Humans have been fighting against mosquitos pretty much since we began walking on this earth. The little buggers have always been a pain in our backside. The Egyptians slept under nets to ward off mosquitos. Native Americans slapped mud and plants on their skin, much like we slap bug repellent on our skin, to try and avoid their itchy bite. But nothing seems to ever work to totally protect humans from getting bitten, and possibly contracting deadly diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. With the newest weapon in the mosquitos arsenal, the Zika virus, spreading rapidly throughout the Americas and heading straight for the U.S.A., scientists are working harder than ever to find a way to thwart the evil plans of the mosquito population.
One new scientific creation that may just be the answer to our prayers is called population modification. Scientists are able to edit out parts of the mosquito genome and eliminate the ones that carry infectious diseases. The process, known as CRISPR, was successfully used in a laboratory last fall to keep mosquitos from spreading malaria. The mosquitos still exist, and can still bite us, but the threat of being infected with a deadly virus is eliminated. Another method that shows promise is called population suppression. Scientists genetically modify male mosquitos to be sterile and to pass on that trait to any offspring, greatly reducing the overall mosquito population in an area within a short period of time. The method is currently being considered in a number of states.
Would you like to be forever rid of those pesky mosquitos? Do you think the government should use any of these new methods to control the mosquito population?