News from IBE (CSIC-UPF) and DCEXS-UPF
As the human population and its impact on the planet increase, in the near future many ecosystems around the world will be at risk of experiencing a potentially catastrophic collapse. Researchers of the Complex Systems Laboratory of the IBE and the UPF, together with researchers of the Centre for Mathematical Research (CRM), have published an article in the journal Royal Society Open Science, in which they propose mathematical models to develop strategies to contribute to the conservation of ecosystems through synthetic biology.
The classic concept of terraforming consists of modifying habitable planets to make them more similar to Earth. In this case, the concept is adapted to modifying our planet by restoring its ecosystems. Therefore, the authors propose as a possibility for future action, the modification of ecosystems at risk using the genetic engineering of species.
One of the main advantages of this approach as a complement to existing technologies is organisms’ ability to replicate and disseminate, which allows working on a large scale. “Synthetic organisms have great potential, they could stop catastrophic changes or re-establish suitable conditions to preserve diverse ecosystems”, says Ricard Solé, leader of the study.
Solé R, Montañez R, Duran-Nebreda S, Rodriguez-Amor D, Vidiella B, Sardanyés J. Population dynamics of synthetic terraformationmotifs. R. Soc. Open sci, 2018.