20 Jul '17, 12pm

Should Genetic Engineering Be Used as a Tool for Conservation?

Should Genetic Engineering Be Used as a Tool for Conservation?

The worldwide effort to return islands to their original wildlife, by eradicating rats, pigs, and other invasive species, has been one of the great environmental success stories of our time. Rewilding has succeeded on hundreds of islands, with beleaguered species surging back from imminent extinction, and dwindling bird colonies suddenly blossoming across old nesting grounds. But these restoration campaigns are often massively expensive and emotionally fraught, with conservationists fearful of accidentally poisoning native wildlife, and animal rights activists having at times fiercely opposed the whole idea. So what if it were possible to rid islands of invasive species without killing a single animal? And at a fraction of the cost of current methods? That’s the tantalizing – but also worrisome – promise of synthetic biology, a Brave New World sort of technology that appli...

Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/features/should-new-genetic-engineer...

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