Accepted Paper:

Gene Drive Responses to Zika: An instance of the 'Anthropocene Predicament'?  

Author:

Nicholas Lee (Warwick University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will illustrate the ‘anthropocene predicament’ in the case of gene-drive based responses to the 2016 American Zika outbreak. Here it presents in the possibility of deliberately shaping an ecology with the intention of serving human interests.

Paper long abstract:

The term 'anthropocene' denotes a geological period in which human activity has had a quantifiable impact on geological processes. This paper will be using it as shorthand for a predicament: just as humans become aware of their powers and responsibilities with respect to the 'more than human', so we also become aware that unintended and, sometimes, humanly undesirable consequences flow from both our activities and from our actions. This predicament presents across a range of circumstances in which responses are sought to biosocial problems, (geoengineering, environmental remediation applications of synthetic biology). This paper will illustrate the 'anthropocene predicament' in the case of gene-drive based responses to the 2016 American Zika outbreak. Here it presents in the possibility of deliberately shaping an ecology with the intention of serving human interests. The paper will take a sample of arguments both in favour of and against the local elimination of Aedes genus mosquito species and ask to what extent they are responsive to the challenges to ethical, effective and wise conduct which, in our view, the anthropocene predicament presents.

Panel T173
Gene Editing in Context: Challenges and Emerging Practices