Humanity has often thought of ‘terraforming’ other planets to make them suitable for human life, but why not try to restore the terrestrial ecosystems that we ourselves have degraded? This is the basis of the proposal to ‘terraform the Earth‘ that Blai Vidiella has studied during his doctoral thesis at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF).
In this episode of ‘La mare de la ciència‘, the science dissemination podcast in Catalan from the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), we will discover the terraforming proposal from the laboratory of complex systems, as well as the steps proposed to restore some of the most affected ecosystems.
Their proposal is based on modifying the genome of different microorganisms to restore the balance of ecosystems such as deserts or oceans, using synthetic biology. In the desert, they propose to improve water retention and the survival of vegetation, and in the ocean they want to degrade the plastics we have dumped.
To design and validate this proposal, Blai has combined ecology, mathematical modeling and genetic engineering. Three disciplines that converge in a proposal that, despite being theoretical, could be tested in some environments in the not too distant future.
And despite the uncertainty and risks of these proposals, Blai is convinced that fear should not put the brake on science. For this reason, he is convinced that it is worthwhile to develop the possible options before deciding whether we want to apply them or not.
Don’t miss his testimony!