Could cockroaches enter in the category of endangered species?
Researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona want to use the CRISPR gene editing tool to eradicate cockroaches. The strategy would consist of expanding a harmful genetic trait (sterility) in the cockroach population so that within a few generations, the species could disappear. The researchers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to gather the funding needed for their project.
Our bioethical comment
In our opinion, the eradication of invasive species that may be harmful to humans or other organisms is ethically acceptable, but the risks for the ecosystem that could be derived from the disappearance of a species, as well as the possible undesirable effects of gene editing, should be taken into account (see more HERE ). In this respect, although communication with the public should be available, we are missing information on the risks of the project and the biosecurity strategies proposed by the group.