Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Excuse me?

The last time I studied biology was in high school, lo these many years ago. But there’s something in this story about flies that perked up my antennae (pun intended).
12 Species of Flies Get Federal Protection

HONOLULU (AP) -- Twelve species of rare flies known for their elaborate courtship displays and found only in the Hawaiian Islands are now protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the protected status for the highly valued picture-wing flies Tuesday.

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity sued the service in March 2005, accusing it of violating the Endangered Species Act. The center said the agency did not move ahead fast enough on listing the flies as endangered after a 2001 proposal for the flies' protected status was made.

"The Hawaiian picture-wings ... are one of our most important endemic invertebrates in Hawaii," said Brent Plater, a staff attorney in the center's San Francisco office.

Picture-wing flies are about two to three times the size of common house flies and are considered harmless to humans. Other species of picture-wing flies are found outside Hawaii.

Researchers have also found antibiotic resistant bacteria on some Hawaiian flies, including some of the newly protected species, that may help scientists find new ways to combat diseases such as bird flu and even cancer, said [Kenneth Kaneshiro, a professor of entomology and director of the Center for Conservation Research and Training at the University of Hawaii]...

To any biologists or physicians that might be reading this, I have a few questions. If the bacteria resists antibiotics, doesn’t that mean that an infection of that strain is difficult to contained and/or kill?

Generally speaking, a species once protected tends to propagate; and flies, highly mobile devils that they are, do get around. So, logically, won’t more and more bacteria laden flies increase the likelihood of spreading the resistant bacteria?


Post a Comment

<< Home