Two advocates for employing gene editing in the fight to protect the Earth’s biodiversity will weigh in with United Nations delegates and staff in New York City on Tuesday as part of the UN’s broad efforts to achieve goals in sustainable development worldwide by 2030.

Natalie Kofler, who heads the Editing Nature project at the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, and Lea Witkowsky, policy analyst for the Innovative Genomics Institute of California, will participate in a part of an annual UN forum on science, technology and innovation called the “technology facilitation mechanism," which helps to implement the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity. ”

Kofler said they will update the participants on “this particular application of gene editing (CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) . . . specifically in the context of conserving biodiversity . . . protecting ecosystems. The idea is that to achieve some of the sustainable development goals, you have to also integrate some new technologies to reach those goals,” Kofler said.

The two also took part in the CRISPRcon gene editing conference in Boston on Monday, where such uses of gene editing were discussed, such as altering coral through gene editing so it can flourish in the oceans warming waters.

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