Science & Society Lecture Series

When:  Feb 16, 2023 from 06:30 to 08:00 (MT)
Associated with  University of New Mexico

Altering nature with gene drives:

We can. But should we?


      James Collins

 February 16, 2023  6:30 PM

Meet and Greet at 6:00


UNM Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, & Interdisciplinary Science, 210 Yale Blvd NE


Free and Open to the Public

James P. Collins is Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment at Arizona State University. He studies host-pathogen biology and its relationship to the decline and extinction of species, the intellectual and institutional factors that have shaped Ecology's development as a discipline, as well as Ecological Ethics. Professor Collins is the author of numerous peer reviewed papers and book chapters, and is co-author with Dr. Martha Crump of Extinction in Our Times: Global Amphibian Decline (Oxford University Press). Dr. Collins served as chair of the Board on Life Sciences of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Chair of the Board of the American Association of Colleges & Universities; and President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Abstract: Recent advances in the technology of gene editing are revolutionizing our ability to modify organisms genetically. In particular, the CRISPR/Cas9 technology makes it easier and cheaper to alter precisely an organism’s genome. These advances sharpen the debate around when and even whether we should develop and use new technologies to manipulate genomes. For example, imagine a proposal to develop a genome editing technology designed to reduce the size of mosquito populations that transmit pathogens that infect humans. But what if the research proposal is designed to drive mosquito populations or even species extinct? The ethical implications of altering genomes for the purpose of extinction are greater than the implications of just population reduction. This presentation will cover some of the exciting science surrounding modern gene editing along with cautionary thoughts raised by this provocative ability to edit life.


Online Instructions:


Jacqueline Ericksen