A bigger toolbox: Biotechnology in biodiversity conservation

R. T. Corlett,  Trends in Biotechnology,  35:55-65. 2017.

Conservation biology needs a bigger toolbox to meet unprecedented challenges. Genomics, fueled by declining sequencing costs, offers novel tools with increased precision for genetic questions previously answered with a few molecular markers, as well as completely new possibilities. Metabarcoding promises quicker, cheaper, and more accurate assessments of biodiversity in groups that are difficult to assess by traditional methods, while sequencing low-quality DNA extends the range of useable materials to include museum specimens, archeological remains, and environmental samples. Genomic and transcriptomic data can be used to assess the potential of populations to adapt to new challenges. In the near future, gene-editing tools may help endangered species cope with change, while gene drives control unwanted species and help wanted ones. De-extinction has become a serious prospect.