What are genetic technologies?

The genetic technologies covered by Connecting Genetics to Climate are genetic engineering approaches that intentionally alter the sequence of genetic materials (DNA, RNA) in living organisms.

Many research fields are involved in development of genetic technologies for climate applications including:

  • Agricultural biology
  • Bioengineering
  • Bioethics
  • Biofuels
  • Biosecurity
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetic engineering
  • Genomics
  • Synthetic biology
  • Systems biology

This list can provide a starting point of key search terms to find out more.

Genetic technologies can have large societal impacts; social science researchers contribute to understanding societal impacts of genetic technologies.

The genetic technologies for climate applications that are covered by Connecting Genetics to Climate occur in non-human organisms.

Genetic technologies for addressing climate challenges

Genetic technologies are being developed that could help address challenges posed by a changing climate.

The technological approaches fall into three broad climate impacts:

  • Mitigation (examples: decreasing release of or capturing heat-trapping gases)
  • Adaptation (examples: climate resilient crops, preventing infectious disease)
  • Monitoring and understanding change (examples: genomic changes, biodiversity changes)

Genetics is one of many contributors to these three action areas. Genetics alone will not solve our climate challenges.

You’ll notice that many genetic technologies for climate applications are being developed in plants and microbes in the agricultural and forestry sectors.

Additional emerging research areas with significant potential impacts on climate and environment are genetic technologies in industrial processes and manufacturing, pollution mitigation, and public health (particularly, efforts to reduce infectious disease burdens that increase in a changing climate). As Connecting Genetics to Climate grows, we anticipate including more about these additional types of technologies that impact environments. For now, we focus on genetic technologies that have impacts on mitigating or adapting to heat-trapping atmospheric gases.