Some Scientists Say it's Time to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

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The World Health Organization is convening an emergency panel today to discuss steps to control the mosquito-born Zika virus, which is spreading throughout Latin America and has affected dozens in the United States.

Mosquito-transmitted malaria is responsible for about half of all human deaths since the Stone Age, according to Nobel Prize winning scientist Baruch Blumberg. So why don't we just get rid of the bug entirely, once and for all? 

The Simpsons experimented with a variation of the idea in at least one episode—Homer goes back in time, kills one mosquito, and ends up with a world with his neighbor and arch-rival Flanders as dictator. 

Despite warnings of human-tinkering from the Simpsons, some scientists don't dismiss the idea entirely. How would we do this? By genetically modifying the disease-carrying species so that newly hatched mosquitoes would not make it to adulthood. 

Joseph Conlon, a retired U.S. Navy entomologist and technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association, joins The Takeaway to discuss the merits, and viability, of ridding the world of mosquitoes.  

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • How humans could actually eradicate mosquitoes.
  • What the consequences of this decision would be.
  • What other alternatives exist for mosquito control.