Jun 22, 2017

Humans have wrecked global biodiversity. Can we undo it?

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Earlier this year, Harvard biologist George Church outlined his plan to produce elephant embryos that contain woolly mammoth genes. The news, big and even called fake, reignited a debate about whether and how gene editing can be used to bring back extinct species or at least some of their traits.

The context: The world's biodiversity, the sheer number of species and the diversity of traits, is under threat. For example, on our current trajectory of fishing, mining, damming and manufacturing, more than half of the planet's marine species may face extinction by 2100. At the same time, there is ongoing debate over how we should choose which species to try to save.

The questions: Where does the science and technology on de-extinction stand? Can and should this be done, and what do we stand to gain and lose? Here's what five researchers had to say:

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Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.

Brace yourself for a coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public-health officials’ warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, with one top CDC official asking the public yesterday "to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Reality check: Other administration officials, including President Trump himself, were more subdued in their assessments. But underneath those tonal differences, the reality of the coronavirus is the same: It spreads quickly, and has already spread to many countries, making it likely to start spreading here, too.

Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.