My current event for this week is about scientists at Vanderbilt and Yale that may have discovered a way to use Wolbachia to our advantage to help kill mosquitoes. Wolbachia is a bacterial parasite that effects millions of insects including the mosquitoes that carry Zika, Dengue Fever, and the Chikungunya virus. The bacteria is so effective because it takes over the reproductive tract of infected females, making them only able to reproduce with infected males. When Wolbachia is present in the mosquito that carries Zika and Dengue, it prevents the disease viruses from growing. There are two approached for making this work – 1. introduce large amounts of both infected males and females so that new generations will all eventually be infected, or 2. introduce only infected males so that the uninfected females can’t reproduce. Researchers are still looking for the genes that cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (infected males can’t successfully reproduce with uninfected females) so that they can potentially so this themselves.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very informative and also entertaining. I resonated with a lot of things he said because I am vegetarian and already believed in most of the same ideas as him. I found it a little hard to read the parts where he described the mistreatment of animals, but I think that was kind of the point. I really like books like this in that they reaffirm what I already believe. However, I think it would be more important for books like this to change the mind of people who currently eat meat. The problem is that this hardly ever seems to work. I think it is really easy for people to just read the words on the page and not actually imagine this type of thing happening. I have told some of these things to people who eat meat and they just don’t care. There is no connection between the words and the action for people. I think what this book made me think about most is that there needs to be a better way to communicate how factory farms operate to the people who are inadvertently supporting them.