#1 Edited by BBAlpert (1526 posts) -

*on subway rats, at least

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-03/nyc-wants-sterilize-its-subway-rats

Basically the idea is to stop rats from making more rats, rather than just killing/trapping them directly. I suppose it could be considered more humane, in a sense. I seem to remember reading about a similar plan to be used against mosquitoes in an effort to fight malaria.

"A sweet-salty, sterilizing chemical called Contrapest will be placed in subway bait boxes. When a female rat ingests some, it'll target the ovarian follicles, permanently sterilizing it. If it's already pregnant, some of its female children will even become sterile. Along with those more traditional techniques, Metro Transit Authority officials are hoping this puts a dent in the rodent population."

excerpt from the article

P.S. I hope this doesn't count as link spam or anything.

#2 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2362 posts) -

first the rats, then the people!

#3 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

first the rats, then the people!

target low income water supplies!

#4 Edited by RPGee (759 posts) -

Somebody call the Scientist Salarian!

#5 Edited by Pr1mus (3951 posts) -

In a couple thousand years this will look real bad for humanity when this is exposed and we are confronted by our new giant rats overlords.

#6 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I'd say it's working. I haven't seen more than a handful of Krogans in NYC.

#7 Posted by haffy (673 posts) -

It'll only be a short term fix. Pretty sure evolution can find a way around it within a few generations.

#8 Edited by Fattony12000 (7518 posts) -

I love salty sweets!

#9 Posted by mtcantor (948 posts) -

Nature finds a way.

#10 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3882 posts) -

I know the rats seem like a vicious warrior race, but they are capable of good!

#11 Posted by Icicle7x3 (1188 posts) -

I'm now picturing myself walking down a street in NYC and a rat walking up to me and saying "Shepard."

#12 Edited by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -
#13 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3428 posts) -

More humane?

Yeah, it'd be way more humane to go to a country and stop all the women from having babies forever than it would be to just gas and kill a bunch of them.

Poor little innocent rats... :(

#14 Posted by Dalai (7040 posts) -

Wouldn't the easier (and more awesome fix) be to just blow up the subways?

#15 Posted by Ramone (2975 posts) -

More humane?

Yeah, it'd be way more humane to go to a country and stop all the women from having babies forever than it would be to just gas and kill a bunch of them.

Poor little innocent rats... :(

It's more humane in that it doesn't hurt them it merely alters how many offspring they can have.

#16 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3428 posts) -

@ramone said:

@geraltitude said:

More humane?

Yeah, it'd be way more humane to go to a country and stop all the women from having babies forever than it would be to just gas and kill a bunch of them.

Poor little innocent rats... :(

It's more humane in that it doesn't hurt them it merely alters how many offspring they can have.

I was just kidding homie. We don't even have rats where I live!

But seriously it's humane in the most binary way. We don't kill them, true, but their unborn babies will die and over time we will commit genophage.

#17 Edited by FLStyle (4767 posts) -

Personally I think the rat population should be given more credit for defeating the Rachni.

#19 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3428 posts) -

@geraltitude said:

@ramone said:

@geraltitude said:

More humane?

Yeah, it'd be way more humane to go to a country and stop all the women from having babies forever than it would be to just gas and kill a bunch of them.

Poor little innocent rats... :(

It's more humane in that it doesn't hurt them it merely alters how many offspring they can have.

I was just kidding homie. We don't even have rats where I live!

But seriously it's humane in the most binary way. We don't kill them, true, but their unborn babies will die and over time we will commit genophage.

But, no rats will directly suffer, or feel pain as a result of this.

LOL yeah right, genocidalkitten. Sure, I believe you of all people. You don't have anything against rats.

Nice try, but I'm sure it's your name stamped on the bottom of the genophage order!

Wouldn't *you* suffer if your wife couldn't have babies? If all your babies were born dead? If your entire race were slowly vanishing before your very eyes?

#21 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3428 posts) -

@geraltitude said:

@genocidalkitten said:

@geraltitude said:

@ramone said:

@geraltitude said:

More humane?

Yeah, it'd be way more humane to go to a country and stop all the women from having babies forever than it would be to just gas and kill a bunch of them.

Poor little innocent rats... :(

It's more humane in that it doesn't hurt them it merely alters how many offspring they can have.

I was just kidding homie. We don't even have rats where I live!

But seriously it's humane in the most binary way. We don't kill them, true, but their unborn babies will die and over time we will commit genophage.

But, no rats will directly suffer, or feel pain as a result of this.

LOL yeah right, genocidalkitten. Sure, I believe you of all people. You don't have anything against rats.

Nice try, but I'm sure it's your name stamped on the bottom of the genophage order!

Wouldn't *you* suffer if your wife couldn't have babies? If all your babies were born dead? If your entire race were slowly vanishing before your very eyes?

CAT RACIST, assuming that I have something against rats just because I'm a cat, typical.

Seriously though, I don't think rats have the mental capacity to contemplate how well their species is doing, I'm also pretty sure that the male rats don't stick around to see their babies born, and I don't think the females really look after their kids either.

Then let them burn.

#22 Edited by McShank (1629 posts) -

@haffy said:

It'll only be a short term fix. Pretty sure evolution can find a way around it within a few generations.

only if they survive long enough. 2-3 generations and most of the rats in the city will probably be dead or dieing.

#23 Edited by haffy (673 posts) -

@mcshank: If there's food and not too much competition it's pretty common for animals to overcome a problem like this. Especially since all the ones effected are cut off from breeding straight away so they can't pass on their genetics which aren't suited for the area anymore.

Wolves in Chernobyl evolved within a few generations because they weren't bothered by humans in the high radioactive areas.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4923342.stm

And salmons being domesticated within one generation.

http://www.livescience.com/17564-salmon-rapid-evolution.html

There's a couple of examples of it. I don't see why rats would be any different. Especially considering how much offspring they have.

#24 Posted by BBAlpert (1526 posts) -

One thing to note is that this isn't a disease or something that spreads from rat to rat until the entire population is infected. So in that regard, the impact is limited to however much of this poison stuff they put out. And I kind of doubt that they would (or even could if they tried) deploy enough traps to sterilize enough rats to put the species in any danger. If they would (and could) do that, then they'd have already done so with regular old poison.

On the other hand, I don't know shit about rats or extermination or anything like that, so I could be completely off the mark with my reasoning.

#25 Edited by McShank (1629 posts) -

@haffy said:

@mcshank: If there's food and not too much competition it's pretty common for animals to overcome a problem like this. Especially since all the ones effected are cut off from breeding straight away so they can't pass on their genetics which aren't suited for the area anymore.

Wolves in Chernobyl evolved within a few generations because they weren't bothered by humans in the high radioactive areas.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4923342.stm

And salmons being domesticated within one generation.

http://www.livescience.com/17564-salmon-rapid-evolution.html

There's a couple of examples of it. I don't see why rats would be any different. Especially considering how much offspring they have.

you didn't read the topic? If the females are now sterile, the chances of them surviving a few generations will be very minimal. Sure it wont be noticeable right away but once a few generations go through eatting the food and more and more females are sterile then there will be less offspring. Evolution is not something that happens in a few years, it takes thousands of years. And the subways are a place humans are always at. More rats will come from other areas to the city but it will happen to them also. Not to mention the other traps and ways they have already been using to kill them are still in place.

#26 Posted by awesomeusername (4209 posts) -

Fucking YES

I hate seeing those fuckers running around in the train tracks. They're dirty and gross and deserve to not have babies!

#27 Edited by haffy (673 posts) -

@mcshank said:

@haffy said:

@mcshank: If there's food and not too much competition it's pretty common for animals to overcome a problem like this. Especially since all the ones effected are cut off from breeding straight away so they can't pass on their genetics which aren't suited for the area anymore.

Wolves in Chernobyl evolved within a few generations because they weren't bothered by humans in the high radioactive areas.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4923342.stm

And salmons being domesticated within one generation.

http://www.livescience.com/17564-salmon-rapid-evolution.html

There's a couple of examples of it. I don't see why rats would be any different. Especially considering how much offspring they have.

you didn't read the topic? If the females are now sterile, the chances of them surviving a few generations will be very minimal. Sure it wont be noticeable right away but once a few generations go through eatting the food and more and more females are sterile then there will be less offspring. Evolution is not something that happens in a few years, it takes thousands of years. And the subways are a place humans are always at. More rats will come from other areas to the city but it will happen to them also. Not to mention the other traps and ways they have already been using to kill them are still in place.

Not bother to look at the links I put up? Or bother to do some research? Or try to understand my point? Yes evolution can be a slow process. But we're talking about it needing to adapt to one specific circumstance. Much like the wolves in Chernobyl becoming resistant to radiation, or salmon becoming domesticated within a generation. I'm not trying to say they're going to become fucking mutants or something in a few generations.

And making them sterile will just encourage the process. You need to get 100% of the population within a very short time period and hope none are naturally resistant to it. A lot of variables which just won't work.

#28 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

@haffy: Domestication is not evolution. Not even in the slightest. You ever heard of natural selection, ie "survival of fittest"? For evolution to occur there must be some level of advanced genetic mutation, being introduced to a human-monitored environment is not evolution. It's the reason why invasive/introduced species are not considered evolved.

#29 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

This thread has quality Mass Effect jokes, Je Approve.

#30 Posted by Nivash (241 posts) -

I took a closer look at Contrapest and it's really quite nifty. From what I gathered from their web page and this award page it basically works by accelerating the natural atresia of the female rats ovaries, causing infertility. It's probably completely tasteless and since it has no ill effects, rats won't be able to outsmart it the way they do with conventional poisons. I can't find any information on possible immunity to the active agent (4- vinylcyclohexene diepoxide) so I guess that question remain unanswered for now. But if there is no natural immunity to it out there already then it's possible that evolutionary adaptation won't be that big a problem. OF course, if there is some small cadre that actually is immune then the rat population could rebound over several years after which Contrapest would be essentially useless. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. Another issue was that the rats need to eat quite a lot of the agent for it to fully work, but I guess that's a question for the NY authorities that buy the thing.

The pages also pointed out something that's also quite important: compared to conventional toxins, this method is perfectly harmless to everyone but fertile female rats. It doesn't travel up the food chain, it doesn't really affect any other species than rats at the doses they use and it won't contaminate the environment or water sources. So there's that.

#31 Edited by Ghostiet (5289 posts) -

@pr1mus said:

In a couple thousand years this will look real bad for humanity when this is exposed and we are confronted by our new giant rats overlords.

- Rats.

- Shepard.

#32 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

Isnt this the plot to the film Mimic?

In Manhattan, cockroaches are spreading the deadly "Strickler's Disease" that is claiming hundreds of the city's children. Entomologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) uses genetic engineering to create what she and her colleague (and husband) Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam) call the Judas Breed, a large insect (looking like a cross between a termite and a praying mantis) that releases an enzyme that kills off the disease-carrying roaches by speeding up their metabolism. The Judas Breed work spectacularly and the crisis is abated. The released population was all-female and designed with a lifespan of only a few months, so that it would only last one generation.

Three years later, a reverend is chased and dragged underground by a man-sized creature. Chuy (Alexander Goodwin), the "special" (possibly autistic) son of a subway shoe-shiner called Manny (Giancarlo Giannini), notices the killer making a clicking sound, and calls him "Mr. Funny Shoes", thinking it is the sound of his footsteps. A disease investigator called Josh (Josh Brolin) investigates the church, which is connected to the subways, and comes across some excrement containing wooden buttons.

#33 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4606 posts) -

I hate to burst your bubble guys, but since they're not genetically manipulating the population, or infecting them with a sterilizing bacteria, it's not a genophage. Or geno-anything. It's just large-scale delivery of contraception.

#34 Posted by Willza92 (266 posts) -

The Mass Effect jokes in here are gold. The people arguing about whether the rats will evolve past it or whatever are lame.

tl;dr more mass effect jokes!

#35 Edited by Jams (2962 posts) -

What's the name of that movie where it stars like gerard butler (or someone similar?) and something happens where people can't have kids anymore but he has to protect this one girl who is pregnant?

Now we know how it happened. A sterile rat in the NYC subways bites an albino lab rat that bites one of the scientist. That scientist sneeze near an air vent and there it is. Everyone's sterile.

#36 Posted by GaspoweR (3167 posts) -

Were the Salarians behind this?

Is Obama a Salarian sleeper agent???

#37 Edited by metalsnakezero (2313 posts) -

Those poor cute little rats ;_;

#38 Edited by AiurFlux (902 posts) -

"Heh. Well you can believe that if you want. This is a form of MIND CONTROL similar to the HAARP system. I should know. I was a governor. Fighter. Navy SEAL. THERMITE PAINT."

@willza92 said:

The Mass Effect jokes in here are gold. The people arguing about whether the rats will evolve past it or whatever are lame.

tl;dr more mass effect jokes!

It wouldn't be so bad if somebody just went ahead and quoted Jeff Goldblum from Jurassic Park. Fuck. Be creative people.

I'm not doing it...

#39 Posted by ThePickle (4186 posts) -

@gaspower said:

Were the Salarians behind this?

Is Obama a Salarian sleeper agent???

Barack MORDIN Obama. Wake up people!