Openly Engineering Our Ecosystems

TEDxCambridge,  ,  2016.

Which technologies should we develop and how? Kevin Esvelt, leader of the Sculpting Evolution group and a professor at the MIT Media Lab, describes how CRISPR ‘gene drives’ can single-handedly alter entire wild populations and the critical importance of requiring powerful technologies to be developed in the open light of day.

Kevin Esvelt is an assistant professor of MIT and leader of the Sculpting Evolution group at the MIT Media Lab. His research team specializes in designing tools to reshape populations and ecosystems. An evolutionary engineer, Esvelt received his PhD from Harvard University in 2010 for inventing a synthetic microbial ecosystem for rapidly evolving useful biomolecules. As a Fellow of the Wyss Institute of Harvard, he helped pioneer the development of a powerful new method of genome engineering based on CRISPR/Cas9, an enzymatic scalpel that can be programmed to cut DNA at any desired sequence.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at