The Corner

Economy & Business

GMO Fungus Mass Kills Malaria Mosquitoes

Dan Roberts inspects his corn crops during the harvest in Minooka, Ill., in 2014. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Genetically modified organisms offer so much potential to save lives, improve the environment, and generally promote a more prosperous and healthier future. For example, golden rice–genetically modified to contain vitamin A — promises to be a great preventative of blindness and death for destitute children in the developing world.

In the latest example, scientists have genetically modified a fungus that infects malaria mosquitoes to contain lethal spider venom. In a controlled test, the population of these dangerous insects collapsed once the GMO fungus was introduced into the population. From the BBC report:

A 6,500-sq-ft fake village – complete with plants, huts, water sources and food for the mosquitoes – was set up in Burkina Faso. It was surrounded by a double layer of mosquito netting to prevent anything escaping. A so-called “mosquitosphere” tests the fungus in real-world conditions, without releasing it into the wild

The fungal spores were mixed with sesame oil and wiped on to black cotton sheets. The mosquitoes had to land on the sheets to be exposed to the deadly fungus. The researchers started the experiments with 1,500 mosquitoes.

The results, published in the journal Science, showed numbers soared when the insects were left alone. But when the spider-toxin fungus was used, there were just 13 mosquitoes left after 45 days.

That success presents us with an astounding opportunity to save lives without using pesticide, which is more environmentally friendly. Making the development of the GMO fungus a more urgent priority, malaria mosquitoes are developing resistance against existing poisons and infection rates are increasing.

It seems to me the only real question remaining are the potential unintended consequences on other fauna. Thank goodness, it appears safe:

Tests also showed the fungus was specific to these mosquitoes and did not affect other insects such as bees.

If this technology continues to prove effective and safe, it could save millions of lives. But don’t expect implacable anti-GMO activists to care about that one whit. These neo-earth religionists seek to thwart the development and deployment of any and all GMOs, no matter how beneficent and benign. For example, even though golden rice has proved completely safe — and has been put under the ownership of a non-profit to avoid any taint of corporatism–these fanatics continue to resist its use. As, I wrote here, that’s flat-out anti-human.

Let’s hope GMO fungus research reaches a successful conclusion — and that the anti-humanists who would rather children die of malaria than allow a fungus to be modified genetically — are unable to thwart this important humanitarian work.

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More
Immigration

Why So Little Coverage of the ICE Attack?

Mostly unnoticed beneath the storm of idiotic presidential tweets and the Democratic struggle session over exactly how minority legislators should behave, a 69-year-old man conducted a terrorist attack on a government facility this weekend. Willem Van Spronsen, armed with a rifle and “incendiary devices”, ... Read More