Dear Colleagues: Please distribute widely and I encourage people teaching classes with relevant content to include this as part of their syllabus. A livestream option will be available. If interested, RSVP to [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>. Flyer attached. 

2016 Benjamin Distinguished Lecture
Should We Modify Genes to Keep Nature in Place?

Professor Clare Palmer, Texas A&M University

3:00 PM  |  Friday, April 8

107 S. Kedzie Hall

Refreshments served just before 3pm; discussion to follow at 4pm
For livestream, RSVP to [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> for the link information.

Genetic engineering in agriculture has become commonplace, though it remains ethically controversial. In contrast, modifying genes for conservation is relatively new – and related ethical debates are in their infancy. This talk will explore ethical questions raised by two possible kinds of gene modification for conservation. One is modification for eradication: changing genes so members of an invasive species become sterile, leading to (local) extinction and thereby protecting threatened environments. The second is modification for resilience: changing genes so a threatened species is more resilient to the impacts of a climate-changed environment. These technologies – especially when practiced on mammals – raise pressing ethical questions. But so do their alternatives – including doing nothing. One major concern, on which I will focus, is whether modifying genes could actually keep in place the kind of nature that we are trying to conserve.