Idaho State University Professor Michael Thomas, in the ISU Department of Biological Sciences, is exploring and weighing the pros and cons of using genetic engineering to help save endangered species.
"And so the basic idea is that we would take a species that is sensitive to a higher temperature or diseases that are introduced by humans and we would endow them with genetic characteristics that would allow them to persist in spite of those new conditions," Says Professor Michael Thomas.
For some, this could create controversy.
"One is, we don't want to take our eyes off the real ball, which is preventing these problems, before species become endangered, and it's also controversial because we don't really know yet what genes we need to put into these species, where we will get those genes, and then third it's controversial because we don't know which species we should be looking at," added Thomas.
Thomas says it has taken decades of habitat destruction and global warming to get us into this mess, now we need to get into the research lab and find some solutions.
"An ecosystem is a web of organisms and they depend upon each other for their own existence, and so there will come a day where we wake up and we realize that lots and lots of species are endangered and becoming extinct, so now is the time to think about what we can do to slow that down and perhaps reverse or stop it," says Thomas.