Gene drive research has the potential to address serious concerns including the extinction crisis on islands and human health.
Although islands only make up approximately 5% of the earth’s landmass, they have been the location of 75% of bird, amphibian, mammal, and reptile extinctions. What is the primary cause of these extinctions? Invasive species.
Today, although the conservation tools we have available to remove invasive species from islands have been proven to save species, they have limitations. In order to save more species, we need new and innovative approaches such as gene drives. If gene drives are shown to be effective, safe, and socially acceptable it could be another tool to help conservationists prevent the extinction of species.
Conservation is not the only field that could benefit from this new tool. Gene drive research could provide a new method for the control of vector-borne illnesses such as Malaria. Gene drives have the potential to help people and endangered species, but research is just the first of many steps.
Watch the video below and hear what Island Conservation Program Director, Karl Campbell has to say about the potential benefits for island species.