Re: [DIYbio] Anti-Tick Bio-Weapon?

Ticks and other parasites perform an ecological service, by creating a route for nutrients back down the foodchain from top-level consumers (these days, mostly mammals). Kind of like ecological taxation: parasites pull eco-"wealth" down where lower tiers can access it, so a nutrient monopoly doesn't occur.

Are they essential in all/most/any ecosystems in this role? I'm not an ecologist, so I can't accurately say. But it's lower risk to kill a disease than a carrier parasite, IMO.

When humans are involved, I know where my loyalties lie: kill the bugs (go Oxytech!), but if a parallel strategy like "immunise the ticks against Lyme with a gene drive!" exists, I'd err in that direction instead.

On 25 April 2017 01:42:17 GMT+01:00, Cory Geesaman <> wrote:
Interesting article, but it doesn't really seem capable of eradicating Lyme disease across the mainland US without a massive undertaking.  Is there anything which could act like an infectious form of CRISPR where it spreads harmlessly through mice but rewrites tick DNA with some critical flaw like sterility?

On Monday, April 24, 2017 at 4:45:10 PM UTC-4, balduino wrote:
There is the fairly famous idea talked about by Kevin Esvelt on the use of gene drives on the white-footed mouse,  This would appently eradicate Lyme disease

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 4:26 PM, Cory Geesaman <> wrote:
I was reading this article discussing how this year is expected to have above average numbers of ticks with associated Lyme infections.  It got me wondering if there is any basis for a virus or bacterial infection which might be used to wipe out an entire species, namely ticks.  It seems like a benign mouse STD which either sterilizes or kills ticks which infect it could work.  Is there already research being done into such things?  Are there mechanisms to ensure a virus will only adversely impact a specific species?  Would they work at the DNA level (i.e. seeking out a specific sequence) or require that a specific protein exist in the target species?  I'm aware this could be really dangerous if it mutated the wrong way and have no intention of attempting it, just curious.

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