With guidance and permission from the EPA, The Biotech firm, Oxitec, has released a mosquito into the Florida Keys carrying genetically modified genes. Now the state of CA has given approval to do the same.
There is no doubt that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are carriers to diseases such as: Fellow Fever, Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, to name a few. So putting an end to those diseases would be good for humankind, right?
On paper is works like this: The modified genes are loaded into the male species, which carry the lethal cargo that kills female progeny in early larval stages. As more females die, the Aedes aegypti population should dwindle. That’s the deal and it worked well in a lab.
But released into the wild, Barry Commoner’s first law of Ecology comes into play: Everything is connected to everything else. A set of laws that guide my life and what made me such a good diagnostician in the field of Informational Technologies–– knowing that if I mucked with something, its effect would be felt somewhere else.
So what’s the worse that can happen?
I was scratching away at a mosquito bite, leaning against the dock railing looking down into the turquoise waters at the confused tarpon swimming upside down, tricked by the submerged floodlights shining up from below. A friend had invited me to this swanky party along the mangroves, one of her clients, and we were deep into a conversation about the state of idiocracy in this country, when she noticed I was bleeding and lifted my palm to see the tips of my fingers wet with blood and my forearm bearing tiny rivulets of the same.
“My God! You’re bleeding,” she said straightening up.
“I must have scratched a mosquito bite a little too hard,” I replied. Offering me her cocktail napkin, embarrassed, I said I would be fine and placed my thumb at the bite. She gave me a sideways look and dabbed away as I tried to pick up where we left off, but I could tell she wasn’t listening, her eyes darting towards my arm. Removing my thumb she placed the napkin over the bite but it soaked through relatively quickly.
A nearby server offering an appetizer of wasabi glazed Tuna, was startled to see my forearm tattooed with blood as he nervously handed us a wad of napkins, asking if he needed to call for help. I too quickly thanked him and said it was just a mosquito bite that I had scratched a little too hard and laughed it off. Skeptical but satisfied he moved on. We placed several napkins over the bite but I could feel the adrenaline pumping beneath and the warming of blood seeping up through the tissues. My friend insisted we head towards the house to ask the host for some bandages and a bathroom to dress this properly. Her advice sounded like a good idea at this point, so I held my palm firmly against the bite; not believing it got this far this quickly. As we walked, I could feel the blood slipping around the gasket of my hold— this is crazy— blood now dripping onto my designer jeans and powder blue sneakers, leaving a trail of dark red beads in the shaved Bermuda grass. We heard a scream behind us, followed by a shout that someone needs to call 911. Glancing over our shoulders, we could see a body slumped onto the dock with several guests gathered around, some backing away and holding their hands to their mouth. We looked down to my arm then back at each other–– fear in her eyes and panic in my own (TBC).