Monday, December 29, 2014

Silent Running

Silent Running, a prescient SF movie of the 3rd kind, is particularly relevant as seen in the ongoing 6th Great Dying being perpetrated by us as we move further into the 21st century, something beyond tragic as once a species is gone, it's gone forever, not to mention the negative impact species extinction does to biodiversity, the one essential needed for man to survive on planet earth. To address this critical issue, researchers have found a way to efficiently storehouse invaluable DNA of individual lifeforms before they become extinct, an approach radically different from that of Silent Running but with the same intent.

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) have developed a cost-effective way to save a wide range of threatened species, including rare old ones that may be costly to protect.

Their new technique to help maximise both the species and genetic diversity we save helps resolve the dilemma facing conservation managers worldwide: whether to rescue a larger number of recent and more common species or fewer, unique and older species that may be more costly to preserve.
The technology will help nations such as Australia and New Zealand to protect as much diversity of both species and their genes as possible, says lead researcher Dr Joseph Bennett of CEED and The University of Queensland (UQ).

"The global extinction crisis is getting worse, and conservation funds are seldom enough to stop biodiversity from declining," says Dr Bennett. "This is like a library on fire – and we have to save as much of the precious information as we can.

Click on the little guy below to get more information on what CEED is trying to do.

Addendum: Researchers are also doing the same thing with seeds as seen by the svalbard-global-seed-vault,  one of several being built to save as many of the world's plant species before they too disappear. 

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