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Ryan Phelan on Reshaping Evolution for TED Radio Hour

How can genetic engineering help not just humans, but animals and plants too? 

Ryan Phelan, Co-founder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, shares with Manoush Zomoradi in this TED Radio Hour how we are using a wide range of genetic engineering tools to rescue a variety of species facing extinction. 

Ryan provides examples of species that we’ve helped protect thanks to biotechnologies. This includes cloning the Black-footed Ferret to increase their genetic diversity, a necessary component to the species’ survival. She also talks about where genetic tools are desperately needed to save biodiversity, such as engineering coral reefs to withstand warmer waters. 

She leaves us with a fresh approach to conservation. If we wish to protect our world’s plants and animals from extinction, we have reached the point where thoughtful, ecosystem-minded intervention is needed in parallel with species’ protection to make a difference. We cannot let a fear of negative consequences stifle innovation and progress. 

“People need to stop thinking about inaction, and to start thinking about action,” says Ryan. 

Listen:

Ryan’s segment in the TED Radio Hour 

Full Reshaping Evolution podcast 

Watch:

Ryan Phelan’s TED Talk The Intended Consequences of Helping Nature Thrive