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Ecology: Gene tweaking for conservation

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posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 11:14 PM


It is time to weigh up the pros and cons of using genetic engineering to rescue species from extinction, say Michael A. Thomas and colleagues.

An endangered Florida panther population was bolstered through hybridization with a related subspecies — a technique that could be refined using genomic tools.

Even the most conservative estimates predict that 15–40% of living species will be effectively extinct by 2050 as a result of climate change, habitat loss and other consequences of human activities. In the face of such drastic losses, scientists are debating the pros and cons of various, and often controversial, interventions. These include moving populations to help track hospitable habitats, and reinstating keystone species — those that have a large effect on ecosystem structure and function, such as top-level predators — into areas where they have long been absent. Even the revival of species that have recently gone extinct is being explored.

So far, an increasingly viable (and potentially less risky) option, which we call facilitated adaptation, has been little discussed. It would involve rescuing a target population or species by endowing it with adaptive alleles, or gene variants, using genetic engineering.

Over the past 30 years, genetic engineering in agriculture has received substantial attention. Today, 12% of arable land worldwide is planted with genetically modified (GM) crops; the GM seed market alone is valued at US$15 billion. As techniques become ever more sophisticated, more possibilities will open up. .

Read more Here

Usually as soon as the subject of genetically modifying something is brought up there is a torrential downpour of hate. I ask that before that starts that everyone take the time to read the link. Here in Florida we thought the panthers were set for extinction several years ago yet I saw the first one in my life last year.

IMO losing up to 40% of the existing species in the world is simply unexceptable. We need to act while we can.

edit on 29-9-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 11:19 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

I'd love to see the passenger pigeon return!

If we decide to do these things it's probably important to realize there could be unintended consequences, but maybe nits worth the risk?

posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 11:24 PM
We are causing the extinction of many of these species by our obsession with chemistry. Maybe they should tweak our genes a little.
Modifying jeans that show butt cracks is a good way to start.
edit on 29-9-2013 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 11:25 PM
reply to post by sjorges2002

If roaches and Mosquitos went extinct I would throw a party but I have a felling they will outlive humanity. As for saving the rest I think the risk will be minimal to us.
edit on 29-9-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 29 2013 @ 11:35 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

If the two you mentioned went extinct we could be in for a world of hurt- that biomass would have to go somewhere and it could be something far worse that takes their place!

But I agree bringing back the dodo and the Tasmanian tiger seem like good ideas!!

Also, mastodons.

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