/ 16 April 2024

Creating Aussie super-animals

honeyeater bird

Aussie researchers are getting creative to protect our wildlife from extinction, using a process they’re calling “assisted evolution”. Now, before you start ringing the Frankenstein bell, it’s good to know that nearly half of our birds and about 90% of our mammals/reptiles/frogs are found nowhere else on Earth… Techniques like crossbreeding and gene editing are being used to tweak the genomes of vulnerable animals, giving them the traits they need to survive. As you can imagine, there’s a big debate about it, but Dr Dan Harley from Zoos Victoria says “preventing more extinctions will require human intervention, innovation and effort”. Some animals that could do with some tweaking are migrating birds… Over in Texas, skyscrapers are turning off their lights at night, leading to a 60% decrease in bird mortality. It’s still a lot of birds smashing themselves into buildings, but it’s better than nothing… 

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