Talk to consider ‘What happens when we start engineering the wild?’

An illustration of a tree made up from missing pieces of different trees
Illustration by Jason Holley

Award-winning science writer Rowan Jacobsen will present a talk titled “The Nature of Nature — What Happens When We Start Engineering the Wild?” on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are available here.

This is the ninth offering in the Yale Quantum Institute’s series of nontechnical talks aimed at bringing a new regard to quantum physics and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) by having experts cast light on often-overlooked aspects of scientific work. This event is co-sponsored by The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities.

Until recently, most genetic engineering has been limited to domesticated species like crop plants, livestock, and lab animals. But CRISPR and other next-generation editing techniques have made it much easier to alter the genomes of more exotic species, and even to have targeted impacts on entire ecosystems,” write the organizers. “Using cases he has explored in depth — including the transgenic chestnut, the gene-drive mosquito, and the de-extinction of lost flower species — Rowan Jacobsen explores the ethics and implications of this new power humanity is about to exert on the natural world.”

Jacobsen is the author of “A Geography of Oysters,” “Fruitless Fall,” “The Living Shore,” “American Terroir,” “Shadows on the Gulf,” “Apples of Uncommon Character,” and “The Essential Oyster.” He has written for  Harper’s, Outside, Pacific Standard, Mother Jones, Vice, Scientific American, Yankee, Orion, Food & Wine, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and others, and his work is regularly anthologized in “The Best American Science & Nature Writing” and “Best Food Writing” collections.

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