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Altering nature with gene drives: We can. But should we?

Thursday March 19, 2020
5:00 pm

 Presenter:  James Collins
Prof of Natural History and the Environment Arizona State University
 Series:  Sigma Xi Public Talk
 Abstract:  Recent advances in the technology of gene editing are revolutionizing our ability to modify organisms genetically. In particular, the CRISPR/Cas9 technology makes it easier and cheaper to alter precisely an organism’s genome. These advances sharpen the debate around when and even whether we should develop and use new technologies to manipulate genomes. For example, imagine a proposal to develop a genome editing technology designed to reduce the size of mosquito populations that transmit pathogens that infect humans. But what if the research proposal is designed to drive mosquito populations or even species extinct? The ethical implications of altering genomes for the purpose of extinction are greater than the implications of just population reduction. This presentation will cover some of the exciting science surrounding modern gene editing along with cautionary thoughts raised by this provocative ability to edit life.
 Host:  Harjit Ahluwalia
 Location:  Room C, UNM Conference Center

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