Designing for the Sixth Extinction

Designer: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Category: Graphics

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A possible future of bio-engineered nature

Commissioned by Science Gallery, Dublin, Designing for the Sixth Extinction investigates synthetic biology’s potential impact on biodiversity and conservation. The project imagines a future in which new companion species designed by synthetic biologists support endangered natural species and ecosystems. Modeled on fungus, bacteria, invertebrates and mammals, the designed species are ecological machines that fill the void left by vanished organisms, or offer novel protection against more harmful invasive species, diseases and pollution. But are they even ‘alive’? If nature is totally industrialized for the benefit of society—which for some is the logical endpoint of synthetic biology — will nature still exist for us to save?