2 minutes reading time (402 words)

The Pentagon Wants to Make an Army of Virus-Spreading Insects. Scientists Are Concerned.

Insect_Spreading_Viruses

Source-Live Science - By 

Can a task force of insects carrying genetically modified viruses save America's farms — or are they an uncontrollable bioweapon in the making?

This is the debate swirling around a controversial new Pentagon research project called "Insect Allies." Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project involves using gene-editing techniques like CRISPR to infect insects with modified viruses that could help make America's crops more resilient. If a cornfield were hit by an unexpected drought or suddenly exposed to a pathogen, for example, Insect Allies might deploy an army of aphids carrying a genetically modified virus to slow the corn plant's growth rate.

According to the DARPA website, these "targeted therapies" could take effect in a single growing season, potentially protecting the American crop system from food security threats like disease, flooding, frost and even "threats introduced by state or non-state actors." [Biomimicry: 7 Clever Technologies Inspired by Nature]

Members of the scientific community are skeptical. In a letter published today (Oct. 5) in the journal Science, a team of five scientists voiced concerns that the project could be easily exploited as a biological weapon — or at least be perceived as one by the international community.

"In our opinion the justifications are not clear enough. For example, why do they use insects? They could use spraying systems," Silja Voeneky, a co-author of the letter and professor of international law at the University of Freiburg in Germany, told The Washington Post."To use insects as a vector to spread diseases is a classical bioweapon."

Blake Bextine, program manager for Insect Allies, is less concerned. "Anytime you're developing a new and revolutionary technology, there is that potential for [both offensive and defensive] capability," Bextine told The Washington Post. "But that is not what we are doing. We are delivering positive traits to plants… We want to make sure we ensure food security, because food security is national security in our eyes."

Insect Allies is still in the early stages of development, and at least four U.S. colleges (Boyce Thompson Institute, Penn State University, The Ohio State University and the University of Texas at Austin)have received funding to carry out research. Bextine told The Washington Post that the project recently achieved its first milestone — testing whether an aphid could infect a stalk of corn with a designer virus that caused fluorescence. According to the Washington Post, "the corn glowed."

Originally published on Live Science.

Think All Disease Begins In The Gut? This Function...
Southern Diet Blamed For High Rates Of Hypertensio...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Monday, 21 October 2019
This website is protected by RSFirewall!, the firewall solution for Joomla!

front1

AccessJamaica

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar
Theo Chambers
02 April 2018
Wellness News
This is how people find support in their communities to help them achieve their goals.Herbalife Nutrition Clubs are at the heart of how Herbalife helps people change their lives and their communi...
Sharon Parris-Chambers
08 January 2017
Medical Marijuana
Wellness News
The Washington Post - By Marie Myung-Ok Lee January 6It took me awhile to perfect the cookie recipe. I experimented with ingredients: Blueberry, Strawberry, Sour Diesel, White Widow, Bu...
Sharon Parris-Chambers
06 February 2017
Wellness News
SOURCE: healthy-holistic-living.comPhoto Caption: Brazil About to Refuse ALL Imports of U.S.- Grown Genetically-Modified CropsBrazil — The list of countries refusing Monsanto’s genetica...
Sharon Parris-Chambers
22 November 2016
Allergies
Wellness News
Better go check your fridge: Sabra, one of America’s most ubiquitous brands of hummus, is recalling dozens of products due to a listeria scare. The recall includes 57 varieties, or the vast majority o...
Theo Chambers
17 February 2018
Nutrition
Wellness News
Source: The Guardian NewspaperIt was reported last week that Quorn is on course to become a billion-dollar business. It is part of a booming industry of meat alternatives – but many of these products ...
Theo Chambers
15 April 2018
Wellness News
Source: Cosmos Magazine - ANDREW MASTERSON is news editor of Cosmos.It’s all a matter of language, in the end. Take toiletries: what the manufacturers might term “personal care products”, sc...
Theo Chambers
09 March 2018
Wellness News
Source: Business InsiderStates around the country — 29 of them, plus Washington DC — have legalized medical marijuana.The American public largely supports the legalization of medical marijuana. At lea...
Theo Chambers
02 April 2018
Wellness News
With a mission to positively impact the lives of children through nutrition and education, along with Herbalife’s purpose to making the world healthier and happier, the Herbalife Family Foundation (HF...
Theo Chambers
02 January 2018
Wellness News
Source: WiredYOU ENTER THE University of Colorado Boulder's newest research laboratory through the side entrance. The door—which is heavy and white, with a black, jug-style handle—slides open fro...
Theo Chambers
03 October 2018
Wellness News
Barbecued pork or fried chicken served with a heaping side of mac and cheese or creamy potato salad, sweet tea and peach cobbler — these Southern classics, loaded with as much history as flavor, have ...
Theo Chambers
04 October 2017
Wellness News
Source: BBCThe salt content in some pesto sauces has increased despite a push to reduce levels, a campaign group has found.Consensus Action on Salt and Health said Sacla's Italia Organic Vegetarian Pe...
Theo Chambers
31 December 2017
Wellness News
WRITTEN BY: Olivia Goldhill - QZ.Com Some 2,000 years ago, the Ancient Greek scholar Hippocrates argued that all ailments, including mental illnesses such as melancholia, could be expla...
Theo Chambers
11 February 2018
Wellness News
According to Cardiogram founder Brandon Ballinger’s latest clinical study, the Apple Watch can detect diabetes in those previously diagnosed with the disease with an 85 percent accuracy.The study is p...
Theo Chambers
03 April 2018
Medical Marijuana
Wellness News
Source: Live ScienceRates of opioid prescriptions went down in states that implemented laws allowing access to medical marijuana, according to two studies published today (April 2) in t...
Theo Chambers
03 April 2018
Wellness News
Source: Live ScienceMIT announced today (April 2) that it has severed a subcontract with Nectome, a company that says it will preserve the brains of dying people in order to revive them in the future....
Theo Chambers
09 May 2018
Alternative Medicine
Wellness News
Source: FuturismEven when you’re asleep, your brain is on. It’s constantly communicating with every part of your body, sending electrical impulses and specific chemicals throughout your muscles a...
Theo Chambers
02 April 2018
Wellness News
Source: Tae Kim | @firstadopter - CNBCCiti Research raises its rating to buy from neutral for Herbalife shares, citing the company's attractive valuation versus the market.We "expect Ac...
Theo Chambers
12 April 2018
Wellness News
Source: Cosmos MagazineEven bees that never leave the hive can be exposed to insecticides and herbicides that affect their sense of taste and reduce their ability to learn.        ...
Theo Chambers
15 August 2018
Wellness News
Source - CPG InsightsIf so, good for us. (Note: opinions here vary.)But it's likely a broader trend, as US mayonnaise sales have fallen 6.7% over the past 5 years, and more natural...
Theo Chambers
07 October 2018
Wellness News
Source-Live Science - By Brandon Specktor, Senior WriterCan a task force of insects carrying genetically modified viruses save America's farms — or are they an uncontrollable bioweapon in th...
Theo Chambers
19 September 2018
Wellness News
Large hospital systems don’t command high prices just because patients like them, or just because they have strong market share. There's also another big reason: their contracts with insurance compani...
Theo Chambers
23 February 2019
Wellness News
Source: Mind Body GreenTalk to most functional medicine providers, and the majority will tell you that health begins in the gut. Well, I disagree. Health begins in the environment. Allow me to explain...
Theo Chambers
16 September 2019
Wellness News
By Theo Chambers Majority of the times your doctor will recommend that you change your diet because many of our illnesses are lifestyle-related. What is amazing and very frustrating, is that 90% of al...