Gene Drive and Thinking Animals

Island Conservation’s GBIRd program manager, Royden Saah, speaks about the importance of innovative technologies and gene drive at the Thinking Animals Summit.

Royden Saah, Island Conservation’s GBIRd program manager, recently spoke at the Thinking Animals Summit alongside Leilani Münter, a former professional race car driver and environmental activist.

Islands comprise only 5.3% of the Earth’s landmass but are home to a disproportionate amount of the world’s biodiversity. As we face the looming extinction crisis, it is clear that humans must act now to save wildlife and ecosystems around the world.

Island Conservation’s mission is to prevent extinctions by removing one of the leading threats to island wildlife—invasive species. Today, the methods at our disposal can only effectively protect 15% of the island where invasive species threaten native wildlife. In order to tackle the remaining 85% of islands in need, we must find new solutions and innovative approaches to preventing extinctions.

The Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents partnership (GBIRd) is designed for exactly that purpose. The partnership is made up of governments, NGOs, and research universities that are dedicated to understanding if the use of gene drives in mice can effectively eradicate invasive rodents on islands as well as the social implications of this science.