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Driving Pests Away

The Galápagos Islands, famous for their giant tortoises and other species, has been grappling with an influx of introduced species, and Scientific American reports that some conservationists are considering using genetic engineering to control the populations of those pests.

Karl Campbell, who works for Island Conservation in the Galápagos, wants to use gene drives to genetically modify invasive species to make them more likely to be male and drive their population extinct, Scientific American says. He's particularly focusing on the island of Floreana as it is home to a number of endangered species and has a high rate of extinctions due to invasive species.

 Currently, it notes that Campbell and his organization have been working on convincing residents of the island to agree to a large-scale rodenticide campaign to eliminate invasive species.

Campbell argues, though, that using gene drives might be more effective and more appealing to local residents, Scientific American says. He notes, though, that the Galápagos isn't the best spot to test the nascent technology out, but the idea of using the technology there could inform the debate of using them for species preservation.