Invasive alien species (IAS) are key drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide, especially in islands, where they are responsible for 86% of all recorded extinctions. Scientists recognise the need for innovative methods to control IAS, and genetic tools are one of the avenues being explored.
Researchers in New Zealand conducted eleven focus groups to explore how public opinion perceives new technologies such as gene drive. Participants evaluated risks and benefits and the differences between new and current pest control methods. The groups also discussed who should be represented on a panel that assesses new tools and what factors should be considered.
The results are available at the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand.