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What Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates could learn from Australia’s rabbits


Lefroy, EC, What Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates could learn from Australia's rabbits, Ryk Goddard, ABC Radio, Hobart (2017) [Media Interview]

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The ambition of the tech giants behind Facebook and Microsoft to cure, prevent or manage all diseases in our lifetime raises questions about methods and ethics. On methods, even the smartest biotechnology such as gene editing has to survive the source of biological innovation, genetic variation and natural selection, as each new treatment puts pressure on populations to come up with new forms of resistance in the same way Australia’s rabbits have bounced back from two rounds of biological warfare. The ethical questions are focusing on heart disease and neurological diseases and cancer, chronic diseases of the developed world, rather than those of the developing world where 90% of preventable deaths occur and retaining exclusive rights to commercialise discoveries. These two features raise the prospect suggested by historian Yuval Harari that the outcome will be to upgrade the healthy rather than cure the sick.

Item Details

Item Type:Media Interview
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Sustainability indicators
UTAS Author:Lefroy, EC (Professor Ted Lefroy)
ID Code:114992
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Centre for Environment
Deposited On:2017-03-03
Last Modified:2017-03-03

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