NANFA-- Re: The Plot to Kill the Carp (fwd)

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Thu, 10 Oct 2002 15:49:11 -0400

> Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 14:18:10 EDT
> From:
> Subject: Re: NANFA-- Fw: [RML] Fwd: Wired Magazine : The Plot to Kill the Carp (fwd)
> Sounds like a sci-fi movie, "Gene to control pests jumps to humans, human
> race faces extinction" Every time somebody tries to fix the problem it just
> gets worse!
> Every time
> moon
Given the urgency needed to deal with the problem of exotics and the
futility of trying to reign in these organisms (unless they are caught
in time like the case of the Maryland Snakeheads) biotechnology is too
promising to throw away because of unreasoning fear of the unknown. This
may be the only way to restore the ecological health of some damaged
systems and in cases like Austrailia- there is little likelyhood that
these genes can cross the species barrier between Carp and the
indigenous fish fauna. There's nothing native to Austrailia that would
cross with Carp anyway.

Biotechnology and eventually nanotechnology will hold the key to solving
alot of intractable problems- everything from healing the sick and
feeding hungry people, cleaning up environmental messes and maybe even
an alternative to being dependent on Middle Eastern oil fields or fossil
fuels in general. Putting a hault on these fields of research will cause
us more harm in the long run than the possible risks of these
technologies being abused. Supress bioengineering or nanotech research
and I'll gurantee you the research and application of these agents for
darher purposes will still go on. Existing bans on bio and chemical
weapons did not stop things like Saran and Anthrax and nukes from
accumulating in arsenels around the world.

A while back I had learned of a terrible plant disease called Sudden Oak
Death that is killing oaks in California. And more recently of a disease
afflicting ash trees in the upper midwest- namely Michigan. I really
hate the thought of loosing the oaks and ash trees of the eastern
forests. If it came down to it - I'd be willing to brave the remote
uncertainties of splicing their genes to prevent that from happening.
And while we're at it - might as well do something about the Chestnut
Blight and Dutch Elm Disease too!

Actually there are somewhat promising lines of research involving the
supression of the Chestnut Blight. There seems to be a virus that
affects the fungus and weakens it making it coexist with the tree as
opposed to killing it. Biotechnology could speed up the progress of
these efforts which might make the difference in saving some species
that are imperilled by exotic invaders with extinction.

The proposal to insert daughterless genes into feral carp populations is
better than trying to poison them in the fashion of Maryland DNR vs
Snakeheads or Minn DNR vs Carp- which inflicts heavy collateral damage
on the ecosystems we are trying to salvage. And certainly better than
bringing in more exotics to control exotics. What wer're talking about
is an agent that spreads thru the target population only and turns off
their ability to reproduce. Even if it is not 100 perecent effective it
can still reduce fertility and give the natives a better chance.


If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a
better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the
woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.

-- attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson
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