Stop Insect Sex

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Stop Insect Sex

fruitfly

No, it's not some bizarre insect-themed rally slogan, but a new way to stop bugs from breeding.

Scientists at Kansas State University have identified a neuropeptide, natalisin, that controls insects ability to mate. It's found in arthropods and insects and is used to chemically relay messages throughout the body. "Natalisin is unique to insects and arthropods and has evolved with them," said Yoonseong Park, one of the researchers in the study. "It appears to be related to a neuropeptide called tachykinin that is in mammals and invertebrates. While tachykinin is involved with various biological processes, including the control of blood flow in mammals, natalisin is linked to reproductive function and mating behavior in insects and arthropods."

The study consisted of scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea; the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Slovakia; Korea University in South Korea; and Kansas State University. The international team studied fruit flies, red flour beetles and silk moths in all four stages of their life development to see what natalisin controlled. Using a process called RNA interference, scientists blocked or silenced natalisin, which reduced the insects' interest in mating and interfered with their ability to physically reproduce.

"For example, we saw that knocking out the natalisin in the fruit fly makes them unable to mate," said Park. "The female is too busy grooming her body for the male to approach her. The male doesn't send a strong enough signal to the female to get her attention. We're not sure if that's because the male can't really smell her or because he is not developed enough to signal her."

Identification of the neuropeptide will hopefully lead to new sources of pest control that are environmentally-safe. Since natalisin is only found insects, it wouldn't be harmful to humans or other animals. Hm, I wonder what bees would have to say about that.

Source: Kansas State

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Hey, as long as they develop some way of doing the same thing to spiders, I'm all for it.

Lauren Admire:

Identification of the neuropeptide will hopefully lead to new sources of pest control that are environmentally-safe. Since natalisin is only found insects, it wouldn't be harmful to humans or other animals.

Environmentally-safe? Debatable.
Ecologically-safe? Not in the slightest.

Well, that's not even remotely terrifying. I guess it won't affect bees (the drones and queen never even leave the hive, if I remember right), but still, there's no way this can go wrong, right?

doing stuff like this to nature doesn't sound like a good idea

Yeee no. Unless a race of flesh eating zombie bugs are next up on our list of world pandemics, I don't advocate screwing about with this.

Good to have on hand incase of flesh eating zombie bugs. But not ...so great for much else.

I don't see how this could possibly go wrong. Except, you know, in the obvious ways.

lacktheknack:
Well, that's not even remotely terrifying. I guess it won't affect bees (the drones and queen never even leave the hive, if I remember right), but still, there's no way this can go wrong, right?

Oh gawd i can see it now, some crazy scientist, perv combines this chemical with human pheromones and creates the worlds first real "Sex Bomb" resulting in the biggest baby boom in centuries XP. With new mouths to feed, stressed out parent will turn to drugs (msinly alcohol) as a result cause a world wide social meltdown of the soon to uneducated and high masses and the 1% will inherit the Earth!

:o

I see a few issues with this. The first issue is highlighted by the last sentence in the article: "what about the bees?". To image that this chemical exists in all insects, bees included, would mean that spraying it near a crop field could cause severe issues with bee populations within the area. Bees are a major source of cross pollination for flowers, plants, and tress alike. To harm their breeding methods is to essentially destroy a whole ecosystem within an area. Are we prepared for such cataclysmic results?

The additional thing to consider would be evolution. I'm a religious person and yet I cannot dispute that evolution exists; it's a proven fact of life here on Earth. Right now there are roughly 2-5 different virus types/breeds in the US that are highly resistant against many of our current vaccines.....because they have evolved to a point to be immune to effects of such.

Now let's apply this same viral evolution concept mentioned above to insects (some having mere day length life spans). Also apply the known that "nothing is 100%" to the hypothesis that not all insects will be effected by this chemical induction. In as little as a few weeks we could see entire species of insect immune to the chemicals. But, what if this is insect that gets eaten, is considered a "pest", and isn't the one that eats the other insects. What if -as another theory- the predator insects are hit more heavily than the prey insects, causing a complete imbalance to the system in which they reside? The prey insects becoming top-dog in their area, also causing devastation to crops, plants, property, and the like.

Call me paranoid. Call me crazy. But.... also call me a sound mind, as those who don't contemplate the implications of their actions are truly the crazy ones.

Captcha: MGM Grand Las Vegas

Man I wish we could get rid of the flies and moths alike, but as mentioned it's not a good idea to fuck with nature.

Then again, this seems like it reduces, not stops their reproduction. So if we could regulate their breeding it might work out ok.

CardinalPiggles:
Man I wish we could get rid of the flies and moths alike, but as mentioned it's not a good idea to fuck with nature.

Then again, this seems like it reduces, not stops their reproduction. So if we could regulate their breeding it might work out ok.

Am I the only one here thinking of the Genophage from Mass Effect after reading this post?

GenGenners:

CardinalPiggles:
Man I wish we could get rid of the flies and moths alike, but as mentioned it's not a good idea to fuck with nature.

Then again, this seems like it reduces, not stops their reproduction. So if we could regulate their breeding it might work out ok.

Am I the only one here thinking of the Genophage from Mass Effect after reading this post?

I thought of the genophage too, but this way is a lot better, since it doesn't lead to millions of stillbirths. It also reminds me of the reproduction blockers in Half-Life 2.

Okay I really am all for scientific advancement and knowledge for the sake of knowledge. but guys please step away from the science.

If one small area test goes wrong then a whole lotta manure is gonna hit the wind turbine.

The protests to this line of study aren't remote possibilities like the LHC creating a black-hole or the atom bomb burning the atmosphere.

GenGenners:

CardinalPiggles:
Man I wish we could get rid of the flies and moths alike, but as mentioned it's not a good idea to fuck with nature.

Then again, this seems like it reduces, not stops their reproduction. So if we could regulate their breeding it might work out ok.

Am I the only one here thinking of the Genophage from Mass Effect after reading this post?

Nope.

Ah yes. Because if we remove something from the food web it'll just rehook itself? Not a mass die out right? Okay mr. scientist.(Or Mrs.)
I don't think this should've been made. It seems ecologically damaging beyond a scale the average citizen is aware of. And assuming stereotypes are correct, farmers definitely wouldn't know it.(But I'd imagine they'd be the first to say "NOPE" having education in agriculture..maybe?). Dunno, don't introduce it to the private sector please.

I want to say "Don't fuck with Nature" but for the 3rd time this week I've been freaked out by an earwig in my bathroom. Genocide earwigs, I would love it.

No no no, don't stop insect sex! My porn collection is dwindling as it is!

Honestly... I think we as humans are going too far wth this one. I know flies can be an annoyance, I know misquitos kill with malaria and all that, but these things have been here for years and are here to serve a purpose and we're just getting in the way of it. I can see why this would be good, but ultimately, I dont think its a good idea. Even if it doesnt hurt bees, they're ot the only ones that pollinate, and insects like flies are ultimately good for waste keeping.

Red X:
Well, that's not even remotely terrifying. I guess it won't affect bees (the drones and queen never even leave the hive, if I remember right), but still, there's no way this can go wrong, right?

Several things:

- They do leave the hive, the drones do it everyday (depending on which part of it's life cycle they are in) and the queen at least once in her life, but quite more in the wildness.

- It's a common mistake to think bees are the only pollinator insect, most of the flying insects pollinate in some degree. Even if the others didn't, eliminating them from the ecosystem wouldn't be desirable.

OT: Funny enough we actually know how to do something similar in humans, just increase the ratio of Serotonin to Dopamine in a subject's brain. Curiously enough it seems it's not common knowledge...

This is kind of stupid. We already have experience mass extincting creatures from the ecosystem and, guess what? It doesn't lead to good things.

It isn't necessarily bad. This would obviously be used to the same degree that pesticides are used now, such as in agricultural areas where locusts may be screwing up the crops. Except they aren't harmful to the environment.

It is a good thing.

GenGenners:

CardinalPiggles:
Man I wish we could get rid of the flies and moths alike, but as mentioned it's not a good idea to fuck with nature.

Then again, this seems like it reduces, not stops their reproduction. So if we could regulate their breeding it might work out ok.

Am I the only one here thinking of the Genophage from Mass Effect after reading this post?

Hell, I'm thinking of "Prophet whithout Honour", ant to know what happened?

Big Pharmaceutical company decides to knock out the cause of a vast majority of diseases, namely mosquitoes. two months later, plague that kills a good three quarters of the human population.

BUT IT'S OKAY! WE GOT SOMETHING THAT WILL CURE THAT!

cue to about half of everyone remaining bleeding profusely from every orifice.

I mean, it was their plan all along, and after Humanity started to slowly recover from that they then use a extremest religious cult to detonate nuclear bombs to cause a premature ice age forcing human evolution along all the while they hide in underground cities until about the year 15,455 when they wage a war against the evolved humans for cheap labor.

Now, I'm not saying that it will happen.....

but Aliens.

It's easy to see how this might harm ecosystems, but that's glossing over how this technology could, properly used, save people's lives. Mosquitos in particular are much more than a pest; they're responsible for malaria outbreaks in over 100 countries which claimed a cumulative 660,000 lives in 2010 alone. If this research kicks off, this can be reduced to a much less severe number. True, we will be "messing with nature", but I think that kind of romantic thinking can go take a hike when it will literally cost lives to follow.

emeraldrafael:
Honestly... I think we as humans are going too far wth this one. I know flies can be an annoyance, I know misquitos kill with malaria and all that, but these things have been here for years and are here to serve a purpose and we're just getting in the way of it. I can see why this would be good, but ultimately, I dont think its a good idea. Even if it doesnt hurt bees, they're ot the only ones that pollinate, and insects like flies are ultimately good for waste keeping.

So long as this is only used against harmful species (and no, being annoying doesn't count as "harmful") and only in the proper environments (meaning African mosquitos would be sterilized, but those in the U.S. would be mostly left alone), there really isn't much downside. Sure, we would be tampering with the ecosystem, but when mother nature's sanctity results in otherwise preventable deaths, I think we can make an exception :P

I remember hearing about a plan to sterilise insects and then release them, because that particular insect only mated once in their life time.

Anyhoo, in regards to this, yes, it'd affect other insects, but then so do insecticides, which are already in use. This might have the advantage of less side effects to things which aren't insects.

I guess it's more efficient than showing the female the male's anime collection.

Don't get me wrong, I hate fruit flies. One little bugger in particular has been doing laps around my apartment livingroom for three days now and I can't get the little bastard. But as with most of the other responses in this topic, I find it hard to ignore the obvious problems that this will bring up.

NOTHING good has come from messing with nature in this way, in particular fucking with the insects (no pun intended). Yeah they're pests in every definition of the word, but most of them have a thousand different crucial duties to perform in the ecosystem...trying to come up with new ways to get rid of them NEVER works out in the long run, as "unforeseen consequences" always end up coming to light a few years down the road.

If they make something that prevents mosquitos to mate then I think they will be able to eradicate the species. They tried before by making a poison that kills them but they 'evolved' or developed a tolerance through breeding that rendered the poison ineffective and they came back. If any insect is to be made extinct it should be mosquitos.

Anybody who says spiders should be reduced need to read about what benefits spiders bring.

...I think we can all agree that bed bugs need to go

There seems to be a lot of people here who think the people who work on this aren't aware of the possible dangers. Folks, real research institutions are not run like Aperture Science. Can we please drop this idea that there's no oversight in research? Here's a fun fact about the sort of thing you deal with as a researcher when it comes to ethics: if your research project involves human subjects AT ALL, even if it's just asking them questions about a diagram or map, you have to read up on the history of ethics for human research subjects, read the laws on them, be tested on these laws, submit your proposal to a review board before you do anything, and in cases where you're doing more than simply collecting anonymous demographic information, continue to be reviewed by the board as you carry out your study. It's not like the movies. Science isn't about why not, you don't get to do whatever strikes your fancy, you won't make any progress at all if you're just guessing, and making stuff up will not only get you kicked out of your institution but will likely keep you out of all others as well. Please stop assuming we don't work for a living.

Let's consider that the same people who develop these things also make it their business to be familiar with how ecosystems react to different events, and will be even more aware of the pitfalls than everyone here claims to be. Biologists are not as careless with this stuff as you think. Invasive species have been an item bandied about here, but most invasive species are not introduced by biologists, they're introduced by farmers, colonists, sailors, and so forth. Biologists understand the potential ramifications of tampering with nature very well, and as a result tend to be rather cautious about it. Hell, I'm not even in the same building as the biologists at my university and I still get to hear all about it.

Yes, applied indiscriminately this could be very bad. But let's not start dismissing it just because it's tampering with nature. Tampering with nature is part of what defines our species. Sometimes it works astonishingly well, sometimes it backfires. The key to limiting the backfires is to understand what the tamper is, how it works, and how it will interact with complex systems. You can do none of that if you reject it out of hand without looking further into it.

Now, can we figure out a way to have that effect on humans and weaponize it? I know some guys who would love to get their hands on that...

*Evil laugh*

Natalisin: A neuropeptide responsible for Sally being just not that into you.
Usage: Man 1 "Oh man, Sally is so fine."
Man 2: Yeah, too bad shes all up in the Natalisin.

Dear god, they say we live in such illuminated times and yet the fear of science contained in this tread alone is just a little bit depressing. First off, cool your collective asses, this finding isn't becoming some monstrous new age Agent Orange any time soon. Hell, the suggestion that this might be used one day as a form of pest control is the sort of absurdly hopeful statement any good lab churns out on a regular basis in an effort to keep the funding coming in.

But let's say they do find a way to monetize this and make a successful, commercial grade pesticide. This would be infinitely better than the current regimen of blanket pesticides on the market that we all blithely consume. RNA interference refers to a process a great many eukaryotic organisms use to post transcriptionally regulate their own genomes (in woefully simple terms, chopping up the message before it can be successfully translated into a protein). The genius of RNAi (and the bit that makes it an utter bitch to manipulate) is that it involves a high degree of specificity. Depending on what literature you happen to stumble across, RNAi has a complex targeting system (guided by either short interfering or micro RNAs or both, nothing's concrete at the moment) that allows it to focus on specific genes at specific times (it's the cells way of changing focus on which proteins need producing and which don't). IF this lab has successfully knocked out the gene responsible for the translation of natalisin, they have an intimate understanding of their organisms genome. Even if natalisin is present in a great many insect species, it's highly unlikely that it appears within the same region of each organism's genome and even more likely that it shares an area of high complementation at the sites bordering that natalisin gene. A pesticide developed with this sort of specificity in mind is far less likely to damage your beloved bumblebee than the scorched earth tactics we all currently condone (unless you decide to starve yourself at the moral outrage of it all.)

But all of this is moot, the future lies in aquaponic vertical farms, enclose them and bugs wont be a factor. The sooner we all realize this, the sooner we end world hunger.

If you managed to read all of that, bravo! You may elevate yourself from the 99 percent of the population that finds science excruciatingly boring when it's not being a moustache twirling villain. I suggest reading the wikipedia articles on RNAi and microRNA, they're surprisingly well maintained (though be warned, some of those sources are out of date and at other times, contradictory).

Ha, find me a viral vector that's reliably effective across a multitude of insect species and the goddamn bees and glowing kittens will be the least of your worries (as I'll be holding Nicaragua hostage with a swarm of hyper wasps brimming with Black Mamba venom).

Science is not the enemy, ignorance is the enemy. Scientific ignorance either dampens genius or breeds atrocity, sociopolitical ignorance gave birth to Herrenvolk slavery, religious ignorance gave birth to holy wars beyond counting. Science is just another human construct, capable of no more villainy than politics, religion, or entertainment.

Hm, I wonder what Anopheles would have to say about it.
Imagine using this not just as pest-control but to control the spread of freaking Malaria.

heheheheheh. hahahahahahahahaha. yeah, go for it. knock yourself out. lol. this should be fun.

secretkeeper12:
It's easy to see how this might harm ecosystems, but that's glossing over how this technology could, properly used, save people's lives. Mosquitos in particular are much more than a pest; they're responsible for malaria outbreaks in over 100 countries which claimed a cumulative 660,000 lives in 2010 alone. If this research kicks off, this can be reduced to a much less severe number. True, we will be "messing with nature", but I think that kind of romantic thinking can go take a hike when it will literally cost lives to follow.

emeraldrafael:
Honestly... I think we as humans are going too far wth this one. I know flies can be an annoyance, I know misquitos kill with malaria and all that, but these things have been here for years and are here to serve a purpose and we're just getting in the way of it. I can see why this would be good, but ultimately, I dont think its a good idea. Even if it doesnt hurt bees, they're ot the only ones that pollinate, and insects like flies are ultimately good for waste keeping.

So long as this is only used against harmful species (and no, being annoying doesn't count as "harmful") and only in the proper environments (meaning African mosquitos would be sterilized, but those in the U.S. would be mostly left alone), there really isn't much downside. Sure, we would be tampering with the ecosystem, but when mother nature's sanctity results in otherwise preventable deaths, I think we can make an exception :P

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I'm sorry (I really am) that people are dying to disease and what not, but it's the natural order of things. What you're basically asking for is that we kill of millions..nay, probably billions of insects that are essential parts of the ecosystem.

The worse part is that you have no concept of what would happen of those 600,000 a year that normally die actually live and prosper. Here's an idea: 3 meals a day, procreation (sex), and extended population within already congested sections of the world. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that there's a reason these people are dying by disease and famine.

I'd completely be 100% with your mindset if there were two requirements fulfilled: 1) everyone who would have died from these diseases become sterile and 2) a 100% guarantee that nothing else in the ecosystem is effected (no frogs/fish go hungry, no effect on the animals killed by snakes that eat the lizards that eat these bugs, etc.) If, and ONLY if, those two things can be fulfilled will I agree to this lunatic way of thinking. But I don't see that happening, so no.

Oh man, I've been watching a lot of those 'science gone wrong' sci-fi movies from the 50s and 60s lately (The Wasp Woman etc) and when something like this is announced those movies are the only thing I can think about...

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