Synthetic Creatures and preserving Biodiversity

http://www.dezeen.com/2013/11/13/synthetic-creatures-could-save-nature-says-alexandra-daisy-ginsberg/

An interesting article a friend of mine shared today.

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2 thoughts on “Synthetic Creatures and preserving Biodiversity

  1. This is an amazing idea! I’ve had ideas to create artificial life-forms for the purposes of meat production, but for the purposes of stabilizing our impact on the environment, this kind of genetic engineering seems not only beneficial, but plausible! Almost certainly, these species would be far less pretty than the artistic renderings. For the sake of efficiency, I would imagine corporate entities to focus only on the genetic traits important to the environmental impact of the life-form.
    It is imperative that extreme precaution be taken in pursuing this goal. What is being suggested is, literally, that we “play God”. If any mistakes are made, or any miscalculations, we risk doing as much harm to the environment as good. Unless we can work out a genetic kill-switch that can be effectively and harmlessly applied to an area, this idea is simply not worth the risk. Even if we do create the perfect life-form to suit our environmental needs, and can engineer an effective means of controlling it, this life-form will still be subject to the basic biological rules of evolution. If left unchecked, we could inadvertently create something we never intended to create that may do more harm than we ever could have.
    In addition, what kind of responsibility would we have to take for this new life form we created? Almost certainly, there would be groups of people fighting for these animals to have the rights of natural animals. I am reminded of an episode of The Outer Limits, in which humanity created a genetically engineered slave race that eventually evolved free will and rebelled. While I doubt that anything of that scale could happen within my lifetime, it is important to ask these questions now so we can know the answers when they DO arise.

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