Game Description

A current hot topic of research and development is in the area of biochemical engineering, specifically genetic engineering. In its simplest form, genetic engineering involves manipulating a living cell’s inherited material (or genes) to produce an organism with a desired trait.

This concept is not new; “Traditional breeding” goes back centuries. Experiments in the 1880s investigated how to make pea plants produce offspring with specified qualities. However, by 1973 technology had advanced so that DNA from completely different organisms could be spliced. The initial experiments involved bacteria. Since then a variety of different organisms have been modified, including plants, animals, and bugs.

Flies, known to have a very simple genome, were one of the first to be cloned (Rubin & Sparding, 1982, pp. 348-53), and it became common place to use the Drosophila fly model in the laboratory to investigate the role of certain genes. In 2001 the first transgenic housefly was created, (Hediger, Wimmer, & Bopp, 2001, pp. 113-19) which proved helpful to study the effects of toxins on the environment (Cross, Vallacchi, Schock, Wilson, Weber, Eiserich, & Van der Vliet, 2002, pp. S44-50).

Another use of this technology is genetically modifying bugs to eliminate disease. Experiments are underway to genetically alter mosquitoes against transmitting malaria (Corby-Harris, Drexler, Watkins de Jong, Antonova, Pakpour, Ziegler, Ramberg, Lewis, Brown, Luckhart, & Riehle, 2010) and dengue fever (Mahr, 2011). Cockroaches also harbor a variety of diseases and allergens and it may be possible to eliminate their toxicity through genetic engineering.
A certain species of termites has successfully been engineered to introduce genes into another colony that would eliminate their destructiveness (Husseneder, Grace, 2005, pp. 360-7). Termites are also being investigated to potentially transform biomass into ethanol (USC School of Engineering, 2007). In short, bugs are seen to hold promise for eradicating disease, increasing crop yield, as well as basic research.

It is for these reasons that BEST Genetics decided to investigate genetically engineering various types of bugs. They put thousands of man hours and a great deal of capital into creating more advanced bugs. Everything was on track for some major breakthroughs; that is, until yesterday. The containment area on three different habitats failed and some genetically engineered flies, cockroaches, and termites escaped from the laboratory. This could be catastrophic for not only BEST Genetics, but for the environment at large. When introducing a new organism into an environment, there may be unanticipated side effects that could drastically affect human health and the surrounding ecosystem. The FDA has insisted that controlled, longitudinal studies are done before releasing any genetically engineered organisms into the environment (“New Report”, 2004) (”Harvest of Fear”, 2001). This was the primary reason why AquaBounties genetically engineered salmon were not approved for human consumption (Carollo, 2010). Companies that have not listened to these warnings have been fined and sued. Therefore, it is imperative that BEST Genetics captures and controls these bugs as quickly and safely as possible.



Contaminant Area Black Flies Red Flies Cockroaches termites Food
Stepped 9 Points 7 Points 5 Points 3 Points 1 Point
Pipe 27 Points 21 Points 15 Points 9 Points 3 Points
Wood Pile 45 Points 35 Points 25 Points 15 Points 5 Points

Field Layout


Game Animation