We’ve gotten a handful of questions about GMO mosquitoes via Twitter, and through an interview Joe did for a radio station (details of which are forthcoming).
So, we decided to switch the post midstream. We’re still planning on doing a post about what scientists do day-to-day, but the topic of GMO mosquitoes seemed a little more important. This is a topic we’ve written about before, so this time around, we want to focus on Florida and Brazil specifically.
Unfortunately, switching posts mid-stream is a little tricky. In order to do it right, we need to spend time reading the papers and deciding how best to tell the story. We can do it quick, or we can do it right…and we always choose doing a post right over doing it quickly.
Awhile back, Joe wrote an article about the history of the Sterile Insect Technique for Biology Fortified, and followed it up with an explanation of how the Oxitec transgenic mosquitoes work. We also wrote an article about why these mosquitoes are being developed a couple months ago.
Over this week on Twitter, while we were answering questions about Zika virus, someone asked us this question:
Why tetracycline GMO mosquito? Why not rare nutrient? #resistancegene @marynmck @bugquestions @scicurious
— tmigratorius (@tmigratorius) February 2, 2016
The answer to this question involves not only a very complicated political situation, but also some very complicated chemistry and genetics. It’s not a thing which is easily explainable in a single post…and we really need to start by explaining the question itself. After we explain why this person asked the question (and this is a great question, by the way), we need to answer it. After we answer it, we need to explain what the answer means in relation to what’s going on in Brazil and Florida at the moment.
This question is a little bit like what Sarah Koenig tackles on the podcast Serial. The question begins small, and then spirals out in some very interesting ways. It’s just a very complicated question, that happens to be very relevant to something that’s really big news right now.
So bear with us on the late post. We’re trying to write an article that’s good, informative, and which contains the information people want. This takes time.
We’ll try to have something up this weekend, probably Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime, the information in the posts we linked here will help you understand our next few posts. It’s a very big topic, and it’s difficult to retread all this information in a concise way.