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Think twice about eradicating mosquitoes: God’s creation caught in crosshairs in fight to end malaria

Jeremy Lederhouse: ‘The mosquito’s ability to transmit diseases has earned it the reputation of deadliest animal on earth… Scientists are increasingly attempting to develop newer technologies that wouldn’t just reduce mosquito populations but decimate them… One team in Europe is experimenting with the method to insert a lethal genetic mutation into a generation of mosquitoes. When paired with a “gene drive” that would skip the ordinary process of inheritance by copying the mutated gene onto both chromosomes, ensuring the gene gets passed on, an entire breeding population of mosquitoes could be completely wiped out… Could their elimination create enough good for humans that it justifies a minor loss of function in the ecosystem?… If God believes that we are worth more than many sparrows (Matt. 10:31) then surely millions of us are worth more than mosquitoes? Yet we know that in God made all creatures in his wisdom (Ps. 104:24), and even mosquitoes are waiting for redemption (Rom. 8:21).

Ecosystems work together in a certain way, so removing mosquitoes may have an impact we can’t anticipate. Consider the mosquitoes’ role in the Arctic food chain as a catalyst to keep caribou moving. Alaskan caribou travel in herds measuring tens and even hundreds of thousands strong. These animals graze on slow-growing lichens, shrubs, and sedges. Were they to linger too long in one area, they could overgraze it and create lasting damage. Instead, clouds of mosquitoes drive the herds to the cold, windy Arctic coast where the mosquitoes can’t follow. In areas like sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes are part of a much more complex food web. Insects and animals that feed on mosquitoes in biodiverse ecosystems could likely find alternative food. However, removing them from this context—though it would make human lives easier—would still make the ecosystem more vulnerable’. SOURCE…

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