American Chestnut and De-extinction Ethics
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The American chestnut tree had significant ecological, economic, and cultural value to the forests and residents of the eastern United States until it was decimated by disease in the early twentieth century and became all but extinct. There are several current initiatives to make the American chestnut disease-resistant in hopes of reintroducing it to eastern forests. Chestnut de-extinction initiatives highlight a number of issues relevant to agricultural ethics, including the value of biodiversity, ethical arguments concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the concept of genomic integrity. In addition, the ethical arguments related to chestnut restoration highlight the tensions and commonalities between agricultural and environmental ethics. Ethical concerns regarding chestnut restoration pivot on questions related to whether the value placed on agricultural species is equivalent to or less than the value placed on wild species and whether there is or should...
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