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Re-engineering mosquitos to fight disease vs re-engineer humans to support disease

Humans have been adapting (manipulating) nature for years in order to survive. We have seen that these efforts have a huge impact in the planet (climate change). I believe is time we mature and understand that instead of adapting nature to please us we have to adapt ourselves. Instead of re-designing mosquitos let's re-design humans. Stop messing with the others and mess with ourselves.


Closing Statement from Juan Calderon

It is both possible and do-able to re-engineer both nature and humans for any cause. The debate is about the responsibility that we as humans have about altering other species. Everyone on this conversation agrees that we can change ourselves (i.e. adapt) to fight environmental threats. We have to be careful when we want to adapt other species in order to fight the threat.

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    Jan 22 2013: As humans being a part of nature and of course planet, messing with ourselves isn't the same thing?
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      Jan 23 2013: Not really. "Messing with ourselves" as you put it, could be seen as speeding up the process of adaptation - which given the right circumstances, might have happened in evolutionary terms anyway.

      Having said that, natural adaptation and resistance only occurs when our existence is consistently under threat from external stressors. I can say with some certainty that most humans with access to medical care do not encounter such stressors, so natural resistence is unlikely.

      Malaria prophylaxes (like antibiotics) lose efficacy through overuse, because mosquitos can adapt, and do actually evolve their own resistance to most things we throw at them.

      Adaptation, and the beginnings of resistance to malaria in humans, exists anyway in the sickle-cell blood trait. It is not a perfect resistance, because over-development of sickle-cell can cause anemia, respiratory problems and early death - but the right amount of the trait can confer a good resistance for people in areas where malaria exists, such as Kenya, with few problems:


      Re-engineering mosquitos is a wrong-minded approach. Mosquitos are there for good reason and disrupting their existance will surely disrupt the ecosystem to which they belong.

      The answer I feel, is to use the pointers that nature has given us in the form of resistance to malaria through the sickle-cell trait, and develop it further so it is safer and with fewer side-effects.
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        Jan 23 2013: I totally agree.
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        Jan 23 2013: I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way. I also think manipulating any creature for humans benefits or any other reasons is very wrong.
        I just think manipulating humans is not the answer, why we have to change something to make it work for us? maybe we can change just our perspective to some problems and they can solve themselves
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          Jan 23 2013: Some problems threat our existence. For the malaria case we have to do something in order to reduce the huge numbers of deaths. We could stay still and wait for evolution to design a cure. We can also speed-up evolution by "manipulating" ourselves. I don't understand what you mean by our perspective. And what do you mean by solve themselves?
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      Jan 23 2013: It is not the same thing. We are becoming god-like with our ability to control and soon design synthetic creatures. But we have to be responsible. Manipulating the planet is playing god, There are other species that should not have to suffer our bad decisions. We should embrace bio-diversity and let nature's wisdom---evolution---do what it knows.

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