Is it time to use CRISPR to save biodiversity?

Though scientists are optimistic that CRISPR could help, they also emphasize caution and community engagement in order to get it right.

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Photos © iStockphoto.com from chameleonseye/valentinrussanov/AnastasiaRas
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Domestication of plants like tomatoes, rice and corn helped increase crop yields and make farming more predictable. But it also reduced genetic diversity — something that could be a problem with more erratic weather in the future. Image courtesy of Markus G. Stetter, Daniel J. Gates, Wenbin Mei, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra via Current Biology, Volume 27, Issue 17; “How to make a domesticate”; Pages R896-R900 Licensed under Elsevier user license
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Graphic courtesy of NOAA.
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In New Zealand, native birds evolved without mammalian predators. Many are large and flightless, so when mammals like rats, possums and stoats arrived with humans, the birds were easy targets. The takahe, pictured here, is one such bird — thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1948. Photo © iStockphoto.com/Tommy Farling
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