Engineering Biological Diversity: The International Governance of Synthetic Biology, Gene Drives, and De-extinction for Conservation

17 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2020

See all articles by Jesse L Reynolds

Jesse L Reynolds

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University School of Law

Date Written: September 7, 2020

Abstract

In the face of insufficient progress in conserving and restoring biodiversity, the in situ use of advanced genetic modification, gene drives, and other biotechnologies for conservation purposes are being considered, researched, and developed. This paper introduces the methods, applications, environmental risks, and social challenges of “conservationist synthetic biology”; reviews existing governance, with an emphasis on international instruments, institutions, and processes; and offers observations of the politics of developing further governance. The most important multilateral environmental agreement is the Convention on Biological Diversity. Governance of such conservationist synthetic biology is vital but gaps remain. The further development of governance is a political process, and conservationist synthetic biology has a political landscape that is atypical for emerging technologies.

Keywords: biodiversity, conservation, emerging technologies, biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, gene drives, de-extinction, governance, international law

Suggested Citation

Reynolds, Jesse L, Engineering Biological Diversity: The International Governance of Synthetic Biology, Gene Drives, and De-extinction for Conservation (September 7, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3688323 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3688323

Jesse L Reynolds (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University School of Law ( email )

3508 TC Utrecht
Utrecht
Netherlands

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