Editing the Environment: Emerging Issues in Genetics and the
Emerging biotechnologies such as CRISPR and gene drives are ushering in a new era of genetic engineering. In this new era, the technical means to modify life are becoming cheaper, faster, more accurate, and more widely accessible than ever before. Gene editing technologies have already made it possible to engineer ourselves, our food animals, and our crops. More recently, they are also being developed to intentionally and rapidly alter or even drive to extinction species such as mosquitoes, with far-reaching implications for the management of human diseases, including malaria, dengue, Zika, and Lyme. In other words: gene editing technologies are increasingly granting humans the power to engineer life at all scales.
The Mitchell Lecture Series was endowed in 1950 by a gift from Lavinia A. Mitchell, in memory of her husband, James McCormick Mitchell. An 1897 graduate of the Buffalo Law School, Mitchell later served as chairman of the Council of the University of Buffalo, which was then a private university. Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered the first Mitchell Lecture in 1951, titled "Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law." The lecture was published that year in the first issue of the Buffalo Law Review.
Mitchell Lecture programs have brought many distinguished speakers to the University at Buffalo School of Law. These have included Irene Khan, C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine McKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Richard Posner, and Clyde Summers.