Hurry up with the gene drive method for insect pest extinction

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Peter Dow
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Hurry up with the gene drive method for insect pest extinction

In September 2018, a pioneering experimental demonstration of the gene drive method eradicated small laboratory populations of mosquitoes.See Science News - Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test) If we could eliminate a species, should we?My opinion is YES we certainly should eliminate the species which is the main malaria-spreading mosquito, Anopheles gambiae and we should make that species extinct if we possibly can without further delay.It will be disappointing if this new method can't gene drive a target species to extinction as we hope but no-one should dare to fault those who rush to find out if it will work in the environment to eradicate wild mosquito populations.If it works, the consequences will be intended and very beneficial.The only consequence of it not working as we hope is that scientists will have to go back to the lab to perfect their method. If it doesn't work because a resistant strain of mosquitoes is found in the wild then nothing much of consequence will happen but at least the scientists will have quickly learned a lot by the unsuccessful field trial that they may not learn expeditiously by any number of further lab tests.So there's no good excuse for hesitating for months and years to do the obvious field trials while people catch diseases from insect pests that perhaps could now be easily eradicated.Medical science needs field trials of gene drives as soon as possible. It's OK to be impatient, to throw caution to the wind. It's worth it.So I trust that the World Health Organisation and its international and national partners will soon be planning to apply this supremely efficient pest control method against every blood-sucking parasite which is a disease vector with the intention to extinct them all!Genetic engineering and medical science has served humanity with as momentous a breakthrough as was as the discovery and use of vaccines and antibiotics.Congratulations and all the rewards on Earth and all the blessings in Heaven to those who have contributed to this breakthrough.Let's roll!