Webinar: Perspectives on Environmental Benefits and Hazards of Gene Drives

December 17,  2015

This webinar explored the environmental benefits and uncertainties of gene drive research in different organisms. The webinar is an information-gathering meeting for the committee in which the speakers are invited to provide input to the committee.

Presentations (click on title to view a PDF of the slides):

Synthetic nature and the future of conservation, Kent H. Redford

Ecological consequences of gene drives: Addressing the uncertainties, Owain Edwards

Speakers:

Owain Edwards, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

Dr. Owain Edwards is Research Program Leader in Environmental Biotechnology and Genomics, at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). His research has focused primarily on the molecular basis of aphid-host plant interactions, which includes a leadership role in the International Aphid Genomics Consortium (IAGC) and strong collaborations with the Institute of Zoology (CAS Beijing), Kansas State University (USA), INRA Rennes (France) and BGI Shenzhen (China). His work on aphids has now broadened to examine the molecular basis of all aphid interactions with the environment, including the genetic and epigenetic factors controlling aphid polyphenism. Most recently, he has embarked on innovative research applying insect metagenomics methods for biodiversity and biosecurity applications. Prior to joining CSIRO in 1998, Dr Edwards undertook postdoctoral studies at the University of Florida and the US Department of Agriculture to study ecological and genetic factors controlling the establishment of natural enemies in classical biological control programs.

Kent H. Redford, Archipelago Consulting

Kent H. Redford is the principal at Archipelago Consulting, established in 2011 and based in Portland, Maine.  In 1993 he left academia to join The Nature Conservancy (TNC) where until 1997, he directed the Parks in Peril program and ran the conservation science department in the Latin American Division.  At TNC he helped develop guidelines for ecoregion-based conservation in the US and abroad and was a member of the Conservation Committee that developed a conservation mission for the whole organization.  In 1997 he joined the Wildlife Conservation Society to work in the International Program on conservation strategy.  He was then chosen to lead the WCS Institute, created to: 1) analyze conservation and academic trends that potentially challenge WCS’s mission or provide opportunities to further conservation effectiveness; and 2) to communicate strategically with significant stakeholders, including other conservation NGOs and the private sector.  The Institute drew on WCS’s wide range of conservation issues, and disseminated WCS’s conservation work via papers and workshops, adding value to WCS’s discoveries and experience by sharing them with partner organizations, policy-makers, and the public.  Through his career Kent has continued to actively publish on conservation practice and the biology of mammals.

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