World Nature Conservation Day: Technology to Forge a Path for Nature Conservation and Communities

P. Becker,  Isand Conservation,  2021.

Gene drives are a genetic phenomenon that occurs in nature and causes a gene or trait to have a greater than 50% chance of inheritance. Island Conservation and partners have formed the Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents (GBIRd) partnership, to explore the technical and social feasibility of creating a gene drive to eliminate invasive rodents on islands. For example, a gene drive that causes rats to produce all male offspring spreads through an invasive population until there is no natural recruitment. On this World Nature Conservation Day, I would like to invite you to reflect on the scale, speed and costs of the efforts needed to address current conservation challenges. Gene drive could be a game-changer for conservation, making nature restoration and sustainable development gains possible on islands where these are currently out of reach today. Combined with existing tools, gene drive could transform the future of island restoration, drastically increasing the scope, scale, and pace of our work, and realizing benefits for island wildlife and communities around the world.

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