Let's Manipulate The DNA Of Bloodsucking Bugs. What Could Go Wrong?

“An organism on your back that’s about the size of a dinner plate, which creates a hole through which it can feed and through which its family can feed. The hole doesn’t seal up — they drink blood through it and inject viruses into it.”
 — Dr. Giles Budge from the National Bee Unit in Yorkshire, describing the human equivalent of the Varroa destructor, the parasitic mite that has been a major factor in the worldwide decline of the European honeybee over the past decade (often referred to as “colony collapse disorder.”) Scientists have developed a methodology called RNA interference to combat the mites, introducing genetic material that will cause their immune system to attack itself. I think Dr. Budge’s description, and what we’ve learned from sci-fi horror movies, tells us all we need to know about why we should be VERY CAREFUL about introducing genetic material into Varroa destructor mites.