AR-News: (US NC) Glow in the dark worms: good, bad or just pretty?

Animalara2003 at Animalara2003 at
Mon Jan 26 22:08:33 EST 2004

Not all new things are good. 
In a recent article on MSNBC, scientists have been genetically altering pink 
bollworms, an insect that attacks cotton crops, to make them glow in UV light. 
The scientists used a simple gene to test the worm's structure to see if they 
could pass on modified genes. They could, so scientists injected a lethal 
gene in the worm in place of the glow gene. Now, these worms are sexually active 
but sterile. When they mate, instead of passing on genes that are normal, the 
larva hatch, then die, before ever reaching sexual maturity. 
In just a few years, the "natural" worms will be extinct, leaving the 
modified worms alive until they die "of old age." This could throw the ecosystem out 
of order. Insects are preyed upon by spiders, birds and other insects, like 
fire ants. These pink bollworms are a food supply for something out there. If we 
wipe them out completely, will the predator be wiped out also? Is there 
enough of a variety of food supply for these predators that taking out a 
significant portion, the bollworms, will not affect them? 

full story:

"The world is a dangerous place,
not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.",
Albert Einstein

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>' .' < 

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