No, we’re not talking about optimizing aphids for a global agricultural armageddon. That would be silly. We’re talking about genetically modifying the eating power of the aphid so it can be used for good!
Note: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The purpose of this is purely entertainment, but hey, if we can spread ideas, or ignite imaginations, how awesome is that? This article originally appeared on PrecisionAg.com. See article here.
Recently, the FDA approved the release of a specific species of genetically modified male mosquitoes into the Florida Keys. It is hoped that when indigenous females breed with the genetically altered males, any new baby mosquitoes born will not reach reproductive age. This specific species is the one that carries the Zika virus.
Now that the FDA has approved this landmark project, it opens the door for other GMO-based scientific advancements. The mosquito project aims at curbing and ultimately preventing a very nasty disease from reaching humans. The goal – Stop the disease at the source. This logic is very enticing, and can be carried further to include protecting our food supply from biological threats by stopping them at their source.
Why not turn the great GMO debate on its head? By this I mean that currently we are focused on genetically altering plants so that they have natural defenses to environmental threats, ultimately to increase their yield potential. Why not take the battle back to the threats themselves. Why not control or eliminate those threats altogether? (control would be better, in my humble opinion)
Which brings me back to aphids. Aphids seem to favor eating the very crops we try to protect, yet ignore the noxious weeds we struggle to destroy. What if we could genetically modify the aphid so they loved the taste of thistle, and hated the taste of soybeans? We’d get a win win situation; the aphids would stop ruining soybeans and at the same time, drastically reduce the weeds.
It’s brilliant, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility….
About the Author: Ryan Raguse is an entrepreneur connoisseur and currently the Co-founder and Chairman of Myriad Mobile. After being a part of 10 start-ups with multiple exits along the way, he specializes in getting ideas and technology off the ground. Myriad Mobile, founded in 2011, is focused on helping businesses and organizations solve problems through inventive technologies and platforms, including Android, iOS, Web, API integrations, virtual reality, beacons, IoT and wearables. Myriad Mobile was recently named to the Inc. 5000 List of America’s fastest growing companies and also recognized as a top app developer in the Minneapolis region. Ryan and the team at Myriad Mobile can help steer the course for mobile technology in agriculture for years to come. Having grown up on a farm, Ryan still does field work in the spring and fall. A self-proclaimed day-dreamer, he is always ready to talk about the exciting future of Ag Tech.