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Conservation and ethics of using synthetic genetics

Author(s): Fran Sandmeier

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This contains teaching material - powerpoints and handouts that can be adapted for lectures and/or discussion groups.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 03 Aug 2020 doi:10.25334/D2FN-GW02 - cite this

Adapted from: Conservation and ethics of using synthetic genetics (unpublished) v 1.0


The powerpoint presentation can be adapted to follow "Option 1": a series of case studies a class or groups of students can work through, or "Option 2" a detailed case study of using synthetic genetics to eradicate rats, a huge conservation problem, in New Zealand. Option 1 includes a second powerpoint (which can be edited) or a pdf version, which can be printed out as pages to be distributed to groups of students. One possibility is to assign each group of students to one case study, and report back their assessment of it at the end of class. For large lectures, just one of the case studies could be presented, with student voting for different assessments. Option 2 is more detailed, and includes more data. This proposal to eradicate rats from New Zealand is one of the most well-developed proposals, with published assessments of advantages and potential problems. Students can work through this detailed handout. A second handout for instructors (with potential answers to the questions) is also included. Finally, two resources - a peer-reviewed article (Esvelt and Gemmel, 2017) and a news article (The Atlantic) - are included as potential further references for students.

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