Should You Worry About Saboteur Genetics?

Most of us are familiar with the discomfort of a mosquito bite. And unfortunately, many of us have acquired a disease from a mosquito bite. In January 2021, the eggs of more than 750 million genetically modified male mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys. Their modifications create a form of genetic sabotage. Should you worry about saboteur genetics? In today’s article, we’ll discuss the mosquito, the diseases carried by this species of mosquito, and what we know about this test.  The Mosquito Life Cycle There are 3,500-4,000 species of mosquitoes. Their life cycle from birth to larva takes from five to forty days, depending upon ambient temperatures, density of larval population, and food supply. Most mosquito lay their eggs on the surface of stagnant water. Clutches of eggs of hatch as soon as possible, and all the eggs in the clutch hatch into larvae at much the same time. As larvae, they are mobile and feed on algae and organic material. Larvae develop through four stages, then they metamorphose into pupae. Pupae typically hang from the surface of the water by their respiratory trumpets. Depending on temperature and other circumstances, in a few days the adult mosquito emerges. Adult Mosquitoes Within […]

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Conservation Genetics is in the good, the bad, and the ugly spotlight. Conservation Genetics “aims to understand the dynamics of genes in populations principally to avoid extinction.” Clear as mud? An Example It may be easier to understand with an example. Conservation genetics aims to help endangered species, like African cheetahs. Today the existing 10,000 African cheetahs share 99 percent of their DNA. In other words, they’re all related. This means there is little genetic diversity. Low genetic diversity leads to a population that is highly susceptible to disease. Disease that could make the African cheetahs extinct. Scientists involved with cheetah breeding projects determine how closely related two cheetahs are. They want to reintroduce genetic variety into the population of cheetahs. So, they choose the ones that are the furthest apart genetically and breed those two together.  If they are successful, the cheetah population will grow. (Source: Revive & Restore Revive and Restore is a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to “enhance biodiversity through new techniques of genetic rescue for endangered and extinct species.” One of their funded projects searches for the genomic trigger of bleaching the coral reefs. They say that this study has the “potential opportunity to […]