Outreach Network for Gene Drive members discuss gene drive at IUCN Regional Conservation Forum.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) started a series of Regional Conservation Fora in preparation for the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020. In the forum in The Netherlands, Target Malaria and Island Conservation hosted a side event and delivered presentations on potential applications of gene drive, to control malaria vectors and invasive rodents. Island Conservation and the Secretariat also attended the IUCN regional forums in Tunisia and the US.
Island Conservation’s Gregg Howald spoke about the extinction crisis and the threat invasive rodents pose to island wildlife. We can remove invasive species from islands, but current tools are only suited to restore 15% of islands where invasive species threatened island wildlife. The Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents program (GBIRd) is a partnership of NGOs, government organizations, and universities aimed at evaluating the use of gene drives for the control and removal of invasive rodents on islands.
Exploring innovative and transformational technologies such as gene drive is vital to the future of restoration and critical in preventing extinctions.
Featured photo: Red-footed Booby on Lehua Island, Hawaii. Credit: Island Conservation