Gill cited in CNET article on extinction, genetically modified animals

Jacquelyn Gill, a professor of paleoecology at the University of Maine, was quoted in a CNET article looking at whether genetically modified hybrid animals could rehabilitate ecosystems that have been harmed by human development. By introducing ecological pressures like pollution, poaching, habitat loss, and global climate change, humans have contributed to species dying off at 1,000 times the natural background rate, ushering in what some call the sixth major mass extinction event in Earth’s history, according to the article. “From the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean, we have influenced everything,” Gill said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston earlier this year. “On some level, that’s terrifying, but maybe it frees us up a little to be flexible with our thinking.” The idea of “facilitated adaptation” hypothesizes that damage done to wildlife can be managed, and even reversed, by manually retooling the genes of threatened species for survival, the article states. “Climate change, and how it intersects with other threats, is going to force us to be super creative when it comes to saving species,” Gill said. “This idea of trying to leverage the helpfulness of large animals to help other animals is an argument I can get behind. The idea of bringing extinct species back to life just to satiate scientific curiosity, however, is a harder sell.” Futurism also quoted Gill in an article on the same topic.