Truth or fiction… genetically modified mosquitoes

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Monday July 16th, 2012 – British company, Oxitec applies to the FDA to release genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys to control Dengue Fever.

“Their mutant skeeters not only glow red when placed under a microscope, they also carry a gene that causes new offspring to self-destruct.”

– http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/oxitec-mutant-mosquitoes_n_1676344.html

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Wednesday December 21st, 2033

“What I want to know, is why you aren’t trying to find out how the bacteria transferred from Toxorhynchites Rutilus Septentrionalis to Culex Pipiens.”

“Technically it’s outside our brief, but I’d certainly like to know whatever you can tell me.”

Lowe hauled the car over to the side of the road. “Shut it all down and strip it off,” he said as he shut down his own phone gear and dropped glasses, cuffs, neckband, and earpieces into a compartment in the center console between them. He held the compartment open until Ayden complied, then pulled the car out from the curb with a lurch of acceleration.

“You want to know what I can tell you? I can tell you they’re a bunch of thieving whores. I can also tell you that there’s no way my bacteria could have transferred to common bloodsucking mosquitoes by accident. I’m not that sloppy.” Lowe paused. “Didn’t used to be anyway. I used to do good work. ‘Til they destroyed my life.”

He drove in silence for a while. Finally his driving became a little less erratic.

“Dr. Lowe, please tell me who ‘they’ are.”

“They conned me out of my patent. Oh, the up-front was okay. It was enough for me to buy a nice house. I even bought myself a hybrid gas-turbine/electric Porsche. The ’25 model—you know it? No?”

Lowe smiled for the first time. “Man that was a fast beast. The electric motor got you off the mark so fast it almost hurt, then the gas turbine cut in and just kept pushing. They had to fit the damn thing with a proximity sensor in the headrests to make sure it was properly adjusted relative to your head … didn’t want to face whiplash claims the thing was so brutal.” Lowe’s smile dropped away. “Sold it after I lost my license.”

Ayden let Lowe ramble on with minimum interruption. Eventually he stopped the car on the side of the road in the middle of suburbia, and they just sat there talking.

“Thought I’d hit the jackpot, you know?” Suddenly he was searching Ayden’s face as if for understanding.

“The royalties were going to make me filthy rich. Governments would buy massive amounts of Rhino Mozzies ’cause it would be cheaper than dealing with mosquito-borne diseases, and the Joneses would pay top dollar so they could have their garden parties without their guests being pestered.

“And the jewel in the crown? Global warming. Warmer temperatures are kind to mosquitoes so the market would keep growing.

“And I wouldn’t have to worry about all the mundane details of regulatory approvals or multinational commercialization. MTC would do all the dirty work and pay me a good percentage of revenues. I didn’t know all that much about MTC, but they threw money about like it grew on trees, and apparently they were part of Genenco.

“But instead they totally screwed me. They gave me a lab and encouraged me to ‘continue my research,’ but they never launched it. That’s what really gets me. It doesn’t make sense! Why spend a chunk of money on a patent then never exploit it?”

…read more in INTERVENTION by WRR Munro

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