Asian Bioethics Review

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 245–259 | Cite as

Technoscience and Biodiversity Conservation

  • Christophe BoëteEmail author
Original Article


The discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 has opened new avenues in gene editing. This system, usually considered as molecular scissors, permits the cutting of the DNA at a targeted site allowing the introduction of new genes or the removal or the modification of existing ones. The genome-editing, involving gene drive or not, is then considered with a strong interest in a variety of fields ranging from agriculture to public health and conservation biology. Given its controversial aspects, it is then no surprise that actors in biodiversity conservation do express conflicting views on this emerging and disruptive technology. The positions are ranging from a request for a moratorium to the will to test and deploy it in strategies aiming at eradicating invasive species of mammals on islands. Reviewing some of its recent developments brings light on the conflicts of interest, the financial support, and lobbying currently occurring in this growing field of biotechnology. While an optimistic view on the use of gene drive for ecosystem conservation was first promoted by several molecular biologists, the risks and uncertainties associated have now led to some reservations. Overall, the eventual use of this novel approach for conservation raises concerns related to the engagement of the public, the communication between scientists, and the public and the risk of a manufactured consent. There are also a series of essential ethical and philosophical questions on the relations we have with Nature that needs to be answered.


Technoscience Gene drive Ethics CRISPR Conservation Invasive species 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© National University of Singapore and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISEM, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, EPHEMontpellierFrance

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