The power to re-engineer or eliminate wild species using a “gene drive” needs to be brought under international governance, say Simon Terry and Stephanie Howard

Commentary, New Scientist.

Thanks to a form of genetic engineering technology known as a gene drive, it is now possible to modify or even eliminate a wild species in its natural habitat, bypassing the laws of inheritance that have governed nature for millennia. The power to deliver “extinction to order” is potentially immense – as is the political challenge.

The technology works by driving a gene throughout a population, meaning the plants or animals containing the drives could impact ecosystems that cross not just country borders, but entire continents. And so …

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