Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How to Prevent Evolution in Mosquitos

 
A paper in PLoS Biology discusses How to Make Evolution-Proof Insecticides for Malaria Control. The idea is to develop drugs that only kill mosquitoes after they've reproduced. That way the population can't evolve resistance to the drug.

What's interesting about this paper is the response of two different bloggers. On adaptationist, Jerry Coyne's blog, guest writer Matthew Cobb thinks it's a great idea [Of mosquitoes and the menopause]. In fact he links his discussion of the paper to the well-known adaptationist explanation of menopause.

The pluralist, Ryan Gregory, is much more skeptical, pointing out that evolution is smarter than you are ["Evolution-proof"?].

Grab your popcorn and enjoy the fight. My money's on Gregory.


9 comments :

  1. Actually, the post on Jerry Coyne's site was written by Matthew Cobb.

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  2. As I understand it, killing older mosquitoes would be effective against malaria dissemination because it the parasite has to live a while in mosquitoes before they are infective, but would not have a large influence on mosquito evolution because those mosquitoes have already bred. What seems to be missing is commentary about what effect this tactic would have on parasite evolution. Why wouldn't it favour parasites with a quicker life cycle?

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  3. Cameron says,

    Actually, the post on Jerry Coyne's site was written by Matthew Cobb.

    Thanks.

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  4. I would rather have this approach to combating mosquitoes, especially in my own yard.

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  5. Larry: "On adaptationist Jerry Coyne's blog, guest writer Matthew Cobb thinks it's a great idea ...
    The pluralist, Ryan Gregory, is much more skeptical ..."

    Ya know, for someone who professes to loathe "framing", you sure do do it a lot! :-)

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  6. Divalent says,

    Ya know, for someone who professes to loathe "framing", you sure do do it a lot!

    If you had to describe the contrasting views of evolution of people like Coyne and Gregory, how would you desribe them?

    Would you prefer to just pretend that everyone views evolution the same way? How is that helpful?

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  7. Larry: "If you had to describe the contrasting views of evolution of people like Coyne and Gregory, how would you desribe them? Would you prefer to just pretend that everyone views evolution the same way? How is that helpful?"

    Even assuming that the labels "adaptionist" and "pluralist" have any significant relevance in other contexts, they surely don't in this case.

    After all, what's at issue here whether or not the plan truly avoids *selection*. Can the misquito and/or the parasite *adapt* to the presence of this (hypothetical) pesticide? (I'm skeptical that it will work, but don't really know the biology of the problem well enough)

    Us regulars here know that you universally use the term "adaptationist" as a perjorative. So, IMO, you not only "framed" the issue, you falsely "framed" the issue.

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  8. Religion Wars: Adaptationists vs. Pluralists

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  9. Is it framing, or is it just another "I have a crush on T. Ryan Gregory"?

    Yaaawwwwwnnnnnnnn

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