Friday, 5 October 2018

DARPA's "Insect Allies"

quote [ The Pentagon is studying whether insects can be enlisted to combat crop loss during agricultural emergencies. The bugs would carry genetically engineered viruses that could be deployed rapidly if critical crops became vulnerable to a drought, a natural blight or a sudden attack by a biological weapon. The concept envisions the viruses making genetic modifications that protect the plants immediately, during a single growing season. But skeptical scientists and legal scholars argue that the Insect Allies program opens a "Pandora's box" and involves technology that "may be widely perceived as an effort to develop biological agents for hostile purposes and their means of delivery". ]

Next step, weaponizing genetically engineered spiders to catch the genetically engineered flies.

Critical paper published in Science: "Agricultural research, or a new bioweapon system?"
Website accompanying the paper: "The DARPA program is easily weaponized"
[SFW] [science & technology] [+5 Interesting]
[by Ankylosaur@8:12amGMT]

Comments

5th Earth said @ 11:43am GMT on 5th Oct [Score:1 Funsightful]
Oh good, because the one thing GMO needed was less control over unintended effects.
cb361 said @ 8:23am GMT on 5th Oct
Sure. They're Insect Allies now, but in a few years they'll be using their weaponised genetics to destroy America.
milkman666 said @ 2:15pm GMT on 5th Oct
So they're researching a delivery method, and the payload, for this project is meant for our own crops.

Honestly it's one of those cases where I'm not so much worried about the technology itself but the accountability of the people who would authorize it's use.
knumbknutz said @ 2:43pm GMT on 5th Oct
If they say they want to, then you can bet your ass they already have done it.
perezoso said[4] @ 2:15am GMT on 6th Oct
I was on the vendor's list for the initial Insect Allies RFP. Then they figured out who I was.

But I do have the list of people who expressed interest in proposing to DARPA, and some of their presentations. Unfortunately on the road so I can't post them at the moment.

Milkman, there's no intention of the US using this as an offensive weapon. It is "threat assessment" running amuck and slipping into actual "threat creation".

There's another DARPA-funded project on gene drives. Miraculously, DARPA has decided to fund bird conservation efforts by deploying gene drives against rodents that eat birds and their eggs (i.e. mammals). Oh wait, DARPA isn't about biodiversity conservation. How did I forget? It's another case of threat assessment slipping into threat creation.

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