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Innovation for biodiversity: don’t exclude genetic modification

Image courtesy of Island Conservation

Invasive species pose an ever-growing risk to island communities and species, as they damage fragile ecosystems and bring new diseases. While efforts to control these species are ongoing, current methods have shown important limitations, from cost to feasibility and efficacy, leaving hundreds of thousands of islands under threat. All innovations to reduce the impact of invasive species on islands must be evaluated, including genetic modification, stated Karen Poiani, CEO of Island Conservation, in The Sidney Morning Herald.

Ongoing research is evaluating whether gene drive technology could be applied to invasive pest control. Using biased genetic inheritance in invasive species to eliminate target populations could offer a new tool that would complement existing methods but offer a cost effective and scalable approach. Poiani highlighted that a transparent discussion must happen in public fora, such as the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity and safeguards must be in place to prevent misuse of the technology, research, and tools.

The full article is available at The Sidney Morning Herald.

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