De-extinction and gene drives: The engineering of anthropocene organisms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Advances in gene reading, gene synthesis, and genome editing are making possible a number of radical new practices for transforming animal futures in the Anthropocene. De-extinction may make it possible to bring back lost species. Gene drives may enable the sending of desirable traits through wild populations of organisms. The hype accompanying these promises can make each of them look ethically irresistible. This chapter investigates the ‘speculative ethics’ that has arisen around these technologies, asking questions about both their viability and the approach to animals they contain. Reductive and non-relational thinking is identified as one potential problem with the thinking behind these techniques. The neglect of non-human agency is identified as another. After indicating some of the problems these two ways of conceptualizing an animal and its genome can create, a brief suggestion is made about how to better conceptualize animal futures in the Anthropocene.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Pages495-511
Number of pages17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics
Volume33
ISSN (Print)1570-3010
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1737

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