U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Animal Conservation 19 (2016) 97–101


US government work


In a recent review, Pimm et al. (2015) highlight emerging technologies in protecting biodiversity. While their list is noteworthy, the authors’ exclusion of innovations in genomic research, with the exception of single-species DNA barcoding methods, was surprising given recent advances in genome-editing technology and its potential application to conservation. Taylor & Gemmell (2016) address that deficiency in a subsequent commentary identifying three avenues where emerging genomic technologies have great potential for increasing our ability to conserve biodiversity. Those areas include the use of next-generation sequencing technologies and methods such as RADseq for monitoring genetic diversity, effective population size, and introgression (Andrews et al., 2016); the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) and metabarcoding approaches to map species occurrence and interaction networks (Evans et al., 2016); and the use of genomic data and gene-editing technology to identify and alter regions of the genome that may impact fitness and limit survival in endangered taxa (Taylor & Gemmell, 2016). Here, we extend that the theme with additional discussion on how genome-editing technologies can benefit the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

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