Stop Insect Sex

| 28 Aug 2013 01:20
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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GryffinDarkBreed:

pearcinator:
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.

The problem is that Mosquitoes are an important species in the world. They're a food source for birds and reptiles!

They are ONE TYPE of food source...they still have plenty more insects that they can eat if they didn't exist. In the long-term, birds and reptiles will adapt and humans wouldn't have to suffer from the many diseases mosquitoes spread.

My real point though is that spiders are extremely important, they are far more beneficial than most people think. They just look scary and many people are afraid of them so they wish they never existed...poor spiders :(

pearcinator:
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.

The problem is that Mosquitoes are an important species in the world. They're a food source for birds and reptiles!

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

fuck yeah.

but really, flies are annoying little fucks that divebomb my house anytime the window/door is remotely open, fuckers are so annoying.

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?

idk about that...it's anecdotal and all, but fuckin christ I've seen a couple bee's that would put some people's dicks to shame, I ran right the fuck back inside this one time, fucker looked like this:

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

Hahah. Well put, and reflects my thoughts.

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?

Virgin queens go out on mating flights. It's actually one thing you gotta look out for as a beekeeper. That the newly mated queen returns to the hive to start laying eggs. Hives can also swarm, which means the queen takes off with nurse bees and leaves. The remaining workers then raise a new queen to take it's place. I'm not sure how it would affect bees, but I can't say I approve of this kind of scientific tinkering as such.

s_h_a_d_o:

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.

Agreed. Every time they fuck with nature, they end up doing more damage that they can't predict or control.

I understand the worry in this thread. The story makes it sound like "We have found this common factor in insects called Natalisin. Thus, we will indiscriminately release a Natalisin counter and nothing bad will come of it.". Ignoring that the Escapist has a long history of jumping straight to extremism in their articles, it is highly unlikely that the scientists involved in this study have never heard of things like Colony Collapse Disorder

Further Sterile Insect Technique has been used before and has knocked various pests out of their place.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterile_insect_technique
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screwfly

I can see being a little more cautious about this because it is talking about using a genetically common vector rather than the uncommon use of radiation to sterilize the insect population. However, that is only reason for caution rather than paranoia.

Scow2:
-snip-

Well, they certainly aren't unworkable, I have worked with them but you do need to use full equipment and don it before you go there and never to remove it before 50m if you open the lids (proper manuals also say to always go in pairs, but I YOLO it); they do have advantages depending on the climate/ecosystem, not worth the hassle for me but not the end of the world.

Exceptionally aggressive? Humm... it's a matter of perspective, if you have the giant japanese wasp as a 10 and the tamest italian bee as a 0, I would say it's around a 4 for Africanized Bees in the wild, it is inoffensive unless you walk to their hive (willingly or not). On the plus side, they DO manage to live in the wild, European Bees almost never succeed in this, and having wild bees is great for most ecosystems.

And yeah, my argument was about rewriting their DNA being a terribad idea mainly because Africanized Bees aren't killing European Bees and you can't release a DNA writing virus without fucking both. Also I am not quite sure it even kills people, and if they do I AM quite sure the numbers are way low.

Tanakh:

Scow2:
10-25 m?! That's 10x further you have to stay away from than the traditional bees I've worked with - I can get within 3-5m of any of my hives at any time without fear of being attacked. You kinda shot your own argument in the foot here.

Yeap, it is, even more, you shouldn't have any large animal stables or peoples houses in a 50m radius just as a precaution.

Still, either you really are bad at reading, or I seriously fucked up writing. What do you think it's my argument?

You seemed to argue that "Killer Bees" aren't unworkable or exceptionally aggressive, yet stated that you can't even come within two dozen meters of a hive without risking an aggressive retaliation (I can't remember if non-working hours are when they're most or least aggressive), and it requires special protection to get close - while normal bees don't require protection to approach unless you're actively ripping the lid off of the hive.

A 50 m radius is quite a lot of space, especially given all the crazy places bees can make hives in - my dad collects normal honeybee hives that pop up in the suburbs and cities during Swarm Season.

The argument that we can't do anything against the Africanized Bees without equally effecting 'normal' bees is probably true, though.

Good, maybe we can kill off all the mosquitoes then. uselles insects that do nothing but be carries of diseases.

Two words are screaming in my head, ecological disaster.

We have no idea of the knock on effects.... this is an incredibly bad idea.

Scow2:
10-25 m?! That's 10x further you have to stay away from than the traditional bees I've worked with - I can get within 3-5m of any of my hives at any time without fear of being attacked. You kinda shot your own argument in the foot here.

Yeap, it is, even more, you shouldn't have any large animal stables or peoples houses in a 50m radius just as a precaution.

Still, either you really are bad at reading, or I seriously fucked up writing. What do you think it's my argument?

Deathfish15:

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.

Want to know what's a better idea? You, and everyone who thinks like you goes to sterilize themselves in the most permanent manner possible. Preferably silencing yourself in the process. Preferably by catching and dying of malaria. The world doesn't need people eager to condemn others to death while they continue to live in luxury.

The reason these people are dying to disease and famine is because counterintellectual fuckwits like you gleefully advocate against anything that could improve the lives of those who live outside your own community, while fully benefitting from advances in science like this that protect us from the ravages of "nature." The only reason Malaria isn't a problem in North America is because we used pesticides liberally, then banned them from global use after we had eradicated Malaria from our own land, leaving the rest of the world to suffer while we enjoyed the privilege of protection.

And to those saying "Don't fuck with nature" - Why the hell not? Unlike us, it's not sapiant, so it won't give a damn and stop fucking with us just because we decide to stop fucking with it. Proceeding with a circumspect view to minimize damage to ourselves and that which we want to protect while removing that which is detrimental to us and our interests is a much better and more circumspect approach.

rhizhim:
sorry but fuck peoples lives and save insects lives.

most 3rd world countries are in the shitter because they arent educated enough as to know when there is little food and space they shouldnt have 300 babies per family.

plus idiotic warlords and stuff.

this is going to fuck up the planet for us all.

Actually, you're giving them far too little credit. And a big reason they have so many babies per family is out of hope that at least some of them won't die of Malaria. They have such shitty lives because any time something starts looking up for them, disease strikes and bankrupts or kills their community and economy. Better health leads to better education, lower death rates, and reduced population growth because families can invest more effort into raising kids they can trust to be healthy than trying to pop out enough to not lose everything to disease, malnutrition, and warfare - and high death rates and crippled populations from diseases like Malarian lead to the too-exploitable political and economic instability that plagues the "3rd world", leading to the poor education, food supply, and warlord issues.

Tanakh:
- Africanized Bees dangerous and aggressive? Have you worked with them? You can be at 10m. or so of their hive in non work hours (non-hot time of the day) or 25m.

10-25 m?! That's 10x further you have to stay away from than the traditional bees I've worked with - I can get within 3-5m of any of my hives at any time without fear of being attacked. You kinda shot your own argument in the foot here.

s0p0g:
tempering with mother nature in ways we only superficially understand - what could possibly go wrong.
i mean, look at the past: when has any interference not been bad for the environment? >.<

The environment is a secondary concern - it's resilient and adaptable. And, actually, it's been doing VERY well. It's biggest threats come from itself. The question is how it benefits humans - and if it weren't for "tampering with nature", we'd not be able to live or eat in the comfort we do now.

Right now, there's a bug that REALLY needs to die in my part of the country - the Emerald Ash Borer. They are currently so bad that the only way to "save" the current Ash Tree populations is starting to look like "Save the seeds, let them all die, hope the borers don't adapt to a different type of tree, wait for the Emerald Ash Borers to die out, then replant new Ash Trees from seeds - Saplings would be destroyed by the bugs." We are the stewards of this world. Right now, we NEED to take a much more active role in regulating insect and plant populations because our lifestyle overwhelmingly benefits bugs and the wrong types of plants when we're not actively opposing them - a big part of the bug population is our mess to clean up.

EnigmaticSevens:
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.)

Not necessarily. Using D. melanogaster's genome as a reference, some degenerate primers, and a bit of sequencing are enough to figure out how a single gene looks in different organisms. No intimate knowledge of their genome required. At least if you're working with insects. Also if you design an RNAi construct you'd go for a conserved region of the gene (or rather its mature mRNA) you intend to knockdown (considering this is RNAi we're speaking of). I'd wager that there are quite a few conserved region in natalisin seeing how they identified and functionally characterised it in diptera, lepidoptera, and coleoptera. So any given pesticide that results from this is likely to affect hymenoptera (and therefore bumblebees), too.

Either way, I agree with you. There's little chance that they'll turn this into any kind of pesticide soon.

Gearhead mk2:
So we've made a bioweapon that could stifle the breeding of an entire group of animals that are vital to the planet's continued existence at a time when bees, part of that group of animals and arguably the most important animal when it comes to plant reproduction, are dying and vanishing en masse.

WHY IS THIS BEING TREATED AS A GOOD THING?!

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

No you are not.

Oh get a grip. This gets blown way out of proportion. It's RNAi. The normal operational procedure for artificially induced RNAi in D. melanogaster cannot be replicated in the wild. You'd need two transgenic fly stocks: one appropriate Gal4 driver line and of course the corresponding UAS-nastalinRNAi line. Their offspring won't breed (provided both parental lines are homozygous/they have the right balancer chromosomes), so they'll go extinct after a single generation. And there will be no effect if either parental line mates with wildtype flies.

Using a virus as a vector is also not all that realistic, either.

All in all this revelation is by no means earth-shattering.

EDIT: Changed 'domain' to 'region'. It doesn't have to be a domain in the biochemical sense. Taking it too far may also cause problems - there's quite a few domains that serve more than one purpose and may be highly conserved in lots of genes, after all.

Redlin5:
When I say "Killer Bees" I refer to the Africanized Honey Bees that are killing off all the native bees and have dangerous, aggressive behaviors that regular Honey Bees here do not have. As the grandson of a harvester, I know the importance of bees.

I'm not saying spread this process to every hive of every bee. Just use it to contain the ones that are eliminating native honey bees.

If this process can be used in such a way safely. Which I'm not sure of.

Ahh... as an actual beekeeper and someone that also knows it's biology I am telling you you are VERY wrong...

Once again, in case I wasn't clear:

- "Killer Bees" and "Honey Bees" are the same fucking species (Apis Mellifera), it's like latinos, blacks and whites (Homo Sapiens), if we get super technical africanized bees and european bees (what you call honey bees) are different subspecies, no biggie at any rate. The differences between them are MINIMAL and you can't fuck one without doing the other.

- Africanized Bees aren't "killing off" the European Bees, they are fucking with. It is exceedingly rare for africanized bees to kill a regular bee hive (unless it is very weak), their males however do fuck with european queens to create hybrids.

- LoL native bees?!?!? You r funny brah, native bees of this continent are the Melipona, and we (humans) have been driving them off their territories each year. Why? They produce less, and IMO of less quality, there are still some here and there tough.

- Africanized Bees dangerous and aggressive? Have you worked with them? You can be at 10m. or so of their hive in non work hours (non-hot time of the day) or 25m. at any hour and they won't give a crap about you. They are certainly more annoying that european bees to work with in the sense that you need proper equipment, some european cattle is so docile you can go butt naked and work with them.

tempering with mother nature in ways we only superficially understand - what could possibly go wrong.
i mean, look at the past: when has any interference not been bad for the environment? >.<

Deathfish15:

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

N
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r
a
l

S
e
l
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t
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o
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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.

I read the guy's more as getting rid of an insect that was introduced into an ecosystem that it's not supposed to be in. That seems to be the only positive use for this spray.

Tanakh:
SNIP

When I say "Killer Bees" I refer to the Africanized Honey Bees that are killing off all the native bees and have dangerous, aggressive behaviors that regular Honey Bees here do not have. As the grandson of a harvester, I know the importance of bees.

I'm not saying spread this process to every hive of every bee. Just use it to contain the ones that are eliminating native honey bees.

If this process can be used in such a way safely. Which I'm not sure of.

Tiamat666:

Tony2077:
doing stuff like this to nature doesn't sound like a good idea

It's not. Except if we could isolate the chemical castration to only affect wasps, moths and mosquitoes. I would be totally OK with that.

i wouldn't they may be royal pests but they are food for others so yeah not a good idea

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