As researchers continue to probe the link between the Zika virus and microcephaly, a condition causing babies in Latin America to be born with damaged brains and abnormally small heads, a debate is raging in Brazil and beyond over potential causes of—and responses to—the health crisis.
Back in 2014, Brazil launched GMO Aedes aegypti modified in an experiment to curb reproduction by sterilizing males. I have not seen any reference to any possible connection - but as with any genetic manipulation there are unknown unknowns as noted in this article:
Brazil To Unleash Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
"One possible drawback associated with this method is that over time, the mosquitoes could adapt to infection and the protection against dengue may wear off. "
The scientific community is waking up! Woo Hoo!
The other two non-mosquito prime suspects are glyphosate, which is known to cause microcephaly in frog embryos and in chicken embryos and is known to build up over a lifetime of exposure (good luck out there, mom!), and the Tdap vaccine, which was pushed like crazy onto pregnant Brazilian women by the Brazilian government in 2015. Also, the Zika virus may be a trigger event in combination with one of the chemical suspects.
The male mosquitoes don't bite people. The GMO mosquitoes have a gene (and probably 80,000 other strange genes in them too) that kills their female offspring but allows the male offspring to live, again with the deadly gene. It's sort of like China and India having economic austerity that leads to killing off all of the baby girls, er, that's too embarrassing to talk about in polite company.
Two Darwinian genetic solutions come to mind. First, surviving female mosquitoes may eventually find a genetic clue, a way to be turned off by the sexless GMO guys and always go get themselves a 100% natural stud. Remember that the GMO guys also have 80,000 other minor defects. Second, the dominant male sterility gene might mutate at some point. These things can happen quickly in a species that only lives a few days per generation.
Humans are exposed to hundreds/thousands of mostly untested chemical poisons sold around the world to supposedly improve the human condition - the truth is our cancer-rates, diseases and conditions are likely caused by these untested chemicals! We now allow untested chemicals to be spread into our food, air and water and prove they are dangerous/deadly rather than the industry (and our revolving-door "regulatory" agencies) prove they are SAFE!
Big-Pharma also is allowed to push deadly garbage drugs with numerous side-effects on an ignorant, believing nation of consumers who trust their so-called doctors to keep them safe - a freakin criminal joke!
Yes! Eight syllables: precautionary principle.
I get all that - my question concerns the caveats regarding the the dynamics of the methodologies introduced by the modification processes themselves. We're talking about viruses that continue to mutate while environmental conditions introduced by government policies in massive deforestation, introduction of massive areas of GMO monoculture, loss of biodiversity, changes in drought/flood, seasonal distortions, introduction of massive agrotoxin applications, water contamination, etc. that could be stopped but aren't stopped because, well, you know, money and power... Natural balances being distorted to such an extent that research into introduction of interactive feedback loops between all of the above can't keep up and in many cases do not yet even exist.
Oops - just read your second post - yuppers.
Toxic dispersant for oil spills, toxic pesticides for mosquitoes... the hand of the "free" market in action.
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That's civilization and technology for you: create a new technology to try to mitigate the disastrous effects of some previous technology. Repeat until mass extinction finally takes the entire biosphere down.
Yet the carnival barker science popularizers like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are treated as beloved heroes, rather than as the PR flacks and accomplices they are to ongoing crimes against nature.
There is now evidence that the birth defects are due to a toxic pesticide. The GM mosquitos are a safe alternative to toxic chemical pesticides. If you think that a male mosquito (which does not even bite) modified to produce unviable larvae can somehow cause a disease in a human, please propose how such a fantastical thing can happen!
And also, mosquitos do not get "infected" with Dengue, malaria, Zika or other viral or microbial agent - they merely carry it from warm-blooded host to warm-blooded host in their gut - so I have no ideas what mosquitos adapt[ing] to infection" can possibly mean.
- The "sterility gene" is GM'd into the male mosquitoes using the unstable "PiggyBac" transposon. The transposon can move on, pick up DNA from elsewhere and deposit it elsewhere and move on again, i.e., it can act as a mutagen and leave no trace.
- The GM'd sterility is undone by tetracycline, at least, that is how it was engineered to function. Tetracycline is widely used in Brazil and so is widely distributed in the environment..
- 3-4% of the GM male mosquitoes are not sterile in the absence of tetracycline.
One question that I am trying to get answered is, "Is Aedes aegypti the only carrier of Zika?". Can other mosquitoes carry it? If so which are potential carriers? Some 2 dozen mosquitoes can carry another flavivirus (West Nile virus) in Washington state. Can the same mosquitoes potentially carry other flaviviruses, such as yellow fever, Zika, and dengue fever. Does the presence or absence of a suitable carrier affect the range of the virus or are there other factors?