cummings1_Matthias Tunger_Getty Images_researchers Matthias Tunger/Getty Images

The Perils of Planned Extinctions

A cynical move is underway to promote a new, powerful, and troubling technology known as “gene drives” for use in conservation. It must be stopped, pending more careful consideration of the dangers produced by human ingenuity.

HONOLULU – A cynical move is underway to promote a new, powerful, and troubling technology known as “gene drives” for use in conservation. This is not just your everyday genetic modification, known as “GMO”; it is a radical new technology, which creates “mutagenic chain reactions” that can reshape living systems in unimaginable ways.

Gene drives represent the next frontier of genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and gene editing. The technology overrides the standard rules of genetic inheritance, ensuring that a particular trait, delivered by humans into an organism’s DNA using advanced gene-editing technology, spreads to all subsequent generations, thereby altering the future of the entire species.

It is a biological tool with unprecedented power. Yet, instead of taking time to consider fully the relevant ethical, ecological, and social issues, many are aggressively promoting gene-drive technology for use in conservation.

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