Who

Emerging genetic technologies are being developed by researchers at universities, institutes, and companies.

Why

Climate applications for mitigation, adaptation, and monitoring change

What

This is an active area of research with some new tools already in field trials and many more under development. We are collecting a list of technologies below. This list provides a starting point to see some examples and is non-comprehensive. For now, our list focuses on mitigation and adaptation technologies and is roughly organized with technology deployed now at the top, followed by technologies in various stages of development.

Agricultural crops for drought resistance

Climate application: Adaptation

Area of application: Food, Agriculture, Forestry

Stage of development: Deployment

Description: Genetically engineered agricultural plants with enhanced water uptake from soils and enhanced conversion of water into plant matter. Drought resistant corn became widely available between 2011-2013. Early stage development continues for other agricultural plant types and for combinations of drought resistance with other disease and pest resistance traits.

Trees for enhanced carbon capture

Climate application: Mitigation via biosequestration of greenhouse gases (reduction of carbon oxides)

Area of application: Food, Agriculture, Forestry

Stage of development: Field Trials

Description: Trees are genetically modified to grow faster by enhanced photosynthesis and therefore capture and store (while alive) more carbon. Field trials of Living Carbon poplar trees are occurring in Oregon and Georgia.

Agricultural crops for enhanced carbon capture

Climate application: Mitigation via biosequestration of greenhouse gases (reduction of carbon oxides)

Area of application: Food, Agriculture, Forestry

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered agricultural plants to enhance photosynthesis and therefore capture and store (while alive) more carbon

Agricultural crops for resistance to decomposition

Climate application: Mitigation via biosequestration of greenhouse gases (reduction of carbon oxides)

Area of application: Food, Agriculture, Forestry

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered agricultural plants to change the biological composition of roots to be less easily decomposed (recalcitrance)

Soil microbes with crops for enhanced carbon capture

Climate application: Mitigation via biosequestration of greenhouse gases (reduction of carbon oxides)

Area of application: Food, Agriculture, Forestry

Stage of development: Early

Description: A combined approach of genetically engineered agricultural plants and associated soil microbes to enhance carbon capture and storage (via soil carbon retention)

Microbes in livestock feed for reducing methane emissions

Climate application: Mitigation via reduction of greenhouse gases (methane)

Area of application: Food, Agriculture, Forestry

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered microbes in animal feed to reduce methane emissions of livestock animals

Microalgae (cyanobacteria) for enhanced carbon capture

Climate application: Mitigation via biosequestration of greenhouse gases (reduction of carbon oxides)

Area of application: Oceans, Aquaculture

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered microalgae for enhanced photosynthesis leading to more carbon capture (while alive)

Soil microbes for enhanced Methane capture

Climate application: Mitigation via biosequestration of greenhouse gases (reduction of methane)

Area of application: Materials Production & Industrial Processes

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered bacteria to enhance methane capture by industrial reaction chambers at point sources with high methane emissions

Introduce new mammoth-elephant hybrid species for maintaining arctic permafrost

Climate application: Mitigation via preventing release of greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost

Area of application: Conservation & wild spaces

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered hybrid of extinct woolly mammoth and endangered Asian elephant proposed to clear tree and brush cover and trample vegetation in arctic tundra environments in a manner that preserves permafrost, thereby preventing carbon dioxide and methane release.

CA native grasses for drought, heat, invasive plants and pest pressures

Climate application: Adaptation

Area of application: Conservation & wild spaces

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered native CA grasses to grow in extreme conditions (heat, drought, invasive organisms), increase carbon capture, decrease soil erosion, and increase water concentration and quality

Soil microbes for enhanced fire resilience

Climate application: Adaptation

Area of application: Conservation & wild spaces

Stage of development: Early

Description: Genetically engineered soil amendment to decrease risk of soil sterilization from heat and enable fast plant growth after fires

What are we missing?

Is your favorite emerging genetic technology with a climate application not listed here yet? This page is an ongoing work-in-progress, please contribute your curiosity and knowledge to help us improve and build resources that serve you well.

What questions would you have about these genetic technologies?