Understanding how genetics can play a role in addressing climate challenges

Image of aerial view of farm fields

Researchers at universities and companies are exploring how genetics can be a tool to help with problems posed by a changing climate. Some technologies are already being trialed and many more are under development.

Policy-makers and citizens will need to consider whether, how, and where we develop and implement these technologies.

At Connecting Genetics to Climate we want information about these technologies to be as transparent and accessible as possible.

What genetic technologies are being developed?

This is an active area of research with some new tools already in field trials and many more under development. Some of the emerging technologies aim to apply genetics to reduce the emission of heat-trapping gases, others aim to mitigate the effect of heat-trapping gases already emitted, and others can help us adapt to a changing climate.

Mitigation

Technologies that aim to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere and/or enhance capture and storage of gases.

Adaptation

Technologies that aim to minimize adverse effects of climate change and/or take advantage of opportunities that may arise.

Here’s what we’re learning

Many different sectors, from agriculture to carbon capture, are exploring where genetic technologies can be applied to climate challenges. Researchers are developing the technologies and learning how to develop applications. Applications of these technologies could create environmental-scale changes, requiring collective deliberation and decision-making within communities at local and global scales.

What questions would you have about these genetic technologies?

Our team

Ting Wu
Ting WuFounder and Director
Ting is the founder and Director of Connecting Genetics to Climate and a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Her research group studies how chromosome structure and behavior impact inheritance and genome activity. She is also Director and Co-founder of Personal Genetics Education & Dialogue (PGED). Dr. Wu’s research has been supported by an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award, and a Center of Excellence in Genomic Science award.
Geoffrey (Geoff) Hunt
Geoffrey (Geoff) HuntDirector of Strategy and Partnerships
Geoff Hunt is a program director with extensive experience creating mechanisms that bring together different communities to foster engagement and conversation around scientific topics. Geoff has worked for several international organizations, including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Society for Microbiology, and he was the inaugural Director of LabX, a public engagement program at the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to (or as part of) his day job, Geoff has been known to perform the occasional science rap.
Leonor Sierra
Leonor SierraDirector of Communications and Engagement
Leonor Sierra is a science communication and science policy professional with more than 15 years of expertise in bringing accessible and accurate evidence into public dialogue (in English and Spanish). In addition to her work with us, Leonor is a lead on the Risk Know-How campaign of the UK-based nonprofit, Sense About Science, and a leading founder of Ciencia en el Parlamento (Science in Parliament), an initiative that connects science and policy-making in Spain.
Morgan Thompson
Morgan ThompsonDirector of Operations
Morgan Thompson is a communicator and educator experienced in public engagement, science communication, and training the future scientific workforce. In addition to her work with us, Morgan is Communications Co-Director for the Harvard Alumni for Climate and the Environment and continues to train early career scientists in communication (interpersonal and community-based), leadership, mentoring, and being well and working well as science professionals.

Upcoming events

Coming soon!

Webinar series on genetic technologies and climate applications

Past events