I stopped because I couldn't see a way to turn a dime on the project with out being incredibly evil, that and I figure if I succeed I'll have to hire full time body guards to protect me from Ecoterrorists.
but these species of rats (and less so the Polynesian and Himalayan rats) are essentially a human derived strain of rat, and do tremendous ecological damage, have driven several species to extinction or near it, and lead to a lot of crop spoilage and the like.
So what are your thoughts?
Emerson White wrote:
Archaological evidence suggests that it took rats about 500 years to move from the periferie of human society to its place right now, gnawing on the heart. Presumably another rat would eventually move in (there are 56 species of them). rats do probably eat a certain number of cockroaches and getting rid of them might increase that problem, but rats also gnaw through containers and open up tunnels for roaches. Mouse and vole populations could probably also be expected to rise, as well as bird and snake populations. Rats really eat every living thing.
That is why I said if you want to reduce rat numbers create a favorable environment for animals that eat them.
How do you feel about eradicating wolves they destroy ungulates, ungulates feed people.
Big Game Population Statistics
Lolo Elk Herd, Idaho
Before Wolf Introduction: 20,000
After Wolf Introduction: 1,700
Yellowstone Elk Herd
Before Wolf Introduction: 20,000
After Wolf Introduction: 6,500
Jackson, WY Shiras Moose
Before Wolf Introduction: 1,200
After Wolf Introduction: 120
Gallitan Valley Elk Herd
Before Wolf Introduction: 1,500
After Wolf Introduction: 200
Who is we and what can you provide as any empirical data that this would be a good thing without consequence?
Just as I am cautious to give carte blanche to GMO modification of food I would be cautious as to any genetically modified animal for the sole purpose of the eradication of its species.
You know who else loves to chant "We just don't know"? Climate change deniers.
Where does the figure of 1.3% potentially affected by a triggered allergy come from? It could easily be 98.7% of people potentially affected.
Naturally occurring modifications procede at a much slower rate than the genetic tweaking that is currently possible allowing for that beautiful Darwinism adaptation to occur.
Eradicate termites since they produce more methane than any other organism, that would address your climate change fears. Would there be no impact if that were to be the next critter on the hit list?
I'm no Ecoterrorist but I would definitely have strong objections to any omnipotent decision to kill off any particular species of plant or animal.
"Roundup" ready seeds are a current (in the news) indication that GMO's might not a really be an intelligent choice.
You may not have great faith in the predictive efforts of the developers but I don't see why you don't, what exactly happened that wasn't predicted? The pollen carrying Bt Toxins was predicted by monsanto before the corn was even made, that's how they knew to look for it (and it isn't nearly as deadly to nearly as many things as the pesticides it replaced were) and then people looked for it, I forget what they put it in but a team put a gene from the Brazil nut in some other crop, then they had the foresight to test for it serologically, they all ate the nuts, found the polypeptide in their blood and decided not to go through with the project because it might trigger Brazil nut allergies, no other lab even got to test it because of what those scientists developing it looked for. There is a review process, done by people who know a whole lot about what is going on.
What I figured out how to do is not patented, and I don;t have the money to patent it. so I'm not going to talk about it, but for the sake of the original question you should just assume that I know what it is and what it will do to rats and that it will not leave piles of dead rats everywhere. Keep in mind that the technology will be discussed and publicized long before a single trojan rat got released. If I get the research done, and patent it, I will even come here and post up the exact gene sequences I used, what organisms they came from, and how it works, just for you (which reminds me, I need to finish writing that essay for the others...).
The worry with RU seeds is that we are using them and that roundup is becoming less effective, something I would think you would be all for.
Termites are a different story, I think I'd be more inclined to engineer that crazy symbiotic organism in their guts to produce less Methane before anything else, for one thing termites play a vital role in many ecosystems, point me to the ecosystem where Rattus norvegicus or Rattus rattus is playing a role and you can make that comparison convincingly. One fortunate thing is that these organisms will always exist in labs, and there fast rate of colonization means that if they are driven completely to extinction that they would be very easy to reintroduce.
Horses are responsible for more human deaths than dogs and yet there are far fewer horse owners per capita than dog owners. So volume of dog owners versus horse owners comparatively speaking shows a different result than you have presented in your cobra illustration.
The Roundup issue comes into play when the chemical is sprayed on a food crop that has been engineered to be resistant to the effect and the chemical is ingested, not that the Roundup is becoming less effective.
Your initial query was how would I feel about the eradication of rats through GMO means and my answer is I wouldn't like it.
Horses have other costs that reduce their net utility, like the land they take up. Are you sure about that though? I thought it was around 30 deaths from dogs and 20 from horses.
The RU gene works but breaking down Glyphosate, it does not function any other way, so while glyphosate can remain on the outside of the plant it wont be found on the inside. If it were on the inside then the RU gene would not be able to prevent the death of the plant. Most farmers are not concerned with weeds towards the end of a growth/production cycle, so they are unlikely to waste chemicals spraying that late in the game, where it really wont improve yield (and in some crops actually hurt it).
If you had a magic button to get rid of all rats you wouldn't press it then?
There is a review process, done by people who know a whole lot about what is going on.
Until the accountants and lawyers decide that review and safeguards cut too heavily into the corporate profits and market the product anyway.
We can look at recent medical news and see that what once was considered a proven methodology is now questioned or debunked.
For instance reviews done by pharmaceutical companies on drugs that they are asking to be approved and have a financial stake in, are not an unbiased review. A proper peer review process is required for me to buy in.
Your faith in the scientific checks and balances is much greater than mine.
We could spar and a response on a yet to be patented genetic modification would still be "I'm not going to explain it."
Far to little information for one to make an informed and educated response on something that has the potential of undiscovered consequences.
I think any such solution would be ass backwards what we need to do to get the rats back to a natural state is stop providing them such nice homes and food with our waste.
I can see it has been 6 years since your original post but I have just come across it. I found your discourse fascinating and your passion for the subject equally so; After 6 years, what has come of your idea? Have you managed to work on it or have you managed to make any progress? I am really interested in any solution you might have found or if you encountered any problems, perhaps I could help you overcome them.
Get in touch if you still follow the thread.
I understand though that the rat situation is probably very different in other parts of the world. Eadication of rats could leave a space for something more obnoxious, although I don't know what would be more obnoxious.