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IUCN task force on synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation


International Union for Conservation of Nature

2018 -

The IUCN Synthetic Biology and Biodiversity Conservation Task Force was created  to oversee the development of policy recommendations for the use and impacts of synthetic biology and engineered gene drives on the conservation of wildlife. This project was the first global attempt to look at the intersection of the emerging technologies of synthetic biology and their impact on biodiversity conservation.


The IUCN Resolution, titled “Development of IUCN policy on biodiversity conservation and synthetic biology” called on the Director General and Commissions to undertake an assessment to examine the organisms, components and products resulting from synthetic biology techniques and the impacts of their production and use, which may be beneficial or detrimental to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and associated social, economic, cultural and ethical considerations, and to recommend how IUCN, including its Commissions and Members, could approach the topic of synthetic biology and engage in ongoing discussions and deliberations with the synthetic biology community.


The Task Force assessed the implications of Synthetic Biology, Gene Drives and related techniques and their potential impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity as well as equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. This technical assessment was published in 2019.

The draft policy is currently under review by IUCN council, and will be discussed at the World Conservation Congress in 2020.

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