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Gene Drives – Protecting People and Nature through Genetic Extermination?

Video recording of the online conference on October 15, 2020 Guests: - Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher (Molecular biologist and geneticist, board member of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility – ENSSER) - Ali Tapsoba de Goamma (Human rights and environmental activist, President of Terre a Vie, Spokesperson for Collectif Citoyen pour l'Agroécologie (CCAE), Burkina Faso) - Dr. Andreas Wulf (Expert in global health issues, Medico International) - Mareike Imken (Head of the European Stop Gene Drive campaign, Save Our Seeds) - Presenter: Christiane Grefe (Author, Global Gardening: Bioökonomie - Neuer Raubbau oder Wirtschaftsform der Zukunft? [Bioeconomy - New Overexploitation or Economic Form of the Future?] and editor, Die ZEIT) The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been dealing with the regulation of modern biotechnology for many years. Gene drive technology is particularly controversial in this context. With this new form of genetic engineering, wild animal and plant populations or species could be genetically modified, replaced or even eradicated in the future. Its developers hope that it will exterminate the malaria-transmitting mosquito, decimate invasive rats and mice to protect threatened ecosystems, and manage so-called pests in agriculture. Gene drives override the basic rules of evolution and natural selection by passing on up to 100 percent of selected traits to all offspring – even if those traits are harmful or deadly to the organisms. Gene drive technology opens up a new dimension of human intervention into nature and harbors innumerable risks. Using the example of gene drives to combat malaria, this online seminar will show how the technology works, who is developing, financing and promoting its application, what risks it poses, how it is being discussed in affected countries, and why the UN Convention on Biological Diversity is grappling with the question for a global moratorium on its use.

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