The Insect Allies programme is aimed at using bugs to spread genetically modified viruses to plants. The programme which was organized by none other than the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is said to simply alter the way plants grow by infecting them with genetic viruses.
Darpa wants to work with genetically modified insects
If this project succeeds, farmers could adapt to the different weather conditions like for example, the genetically modified (GM) insects could insert drought-resistance genes to plants instead of pre-engineering the seeds.
That, not the only thing they criticized, they also said that DARPA since its creation in 2016 is yet to still prove or rather justify their relevance.
According to Felix Beck, a lawyer at the University of Freiburg “Given that DARPA is a military agency, we find it surprising that the obvious and concerning dual-use aspects of this research have received so little attention
Dr. Guy Reeves, an expert in genetically modified insects at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, made it clear that this technology would be best and more effective as a weapon than when used for agricultural purposes.
He said that “it is very much easier to kill or sterilize a plant using gene editing than it is to make it herbicide or insect-resistant.”
Mr. Beck made it clear that he and his fellow scientists are not asking the U.S. military to create bio-weapons, rather they are just saying that the proposed agricultural use does not just cut it. (Ya, but using it as a weapon…totally cuts it😉)
DARPA went on to say that “if insect Allies succeeds, it will offer a highly specific, efficient, safe, and readily deployed means of introducing transient protective traits into only th plants intended, with minimal infrastructure required.”