Gene drive technology is the term for wiping out an entire species by genetically altering a few individuals. Gene drive is becoming part of public health, as certain animals are thought to be disease vectors. From The New York Times (6/1/16): Scientists dream of deploying gene drive, for example, to wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes that cause the deaths of 300,000 African children each year, or invasive rodents that damage island ecosystems. But some experts have warned that the technique could lead to unforeseen harm to the environment. Some scientists have called on the federal government to regulate it, and some environmental watchdogs have called for a moratorium.
So far human attempts to modify species in the wild have failed because the changes also diminish the organism's survival and reproduction, and natural selection (thankfully) eliminates the altered genes. However, a new gene tool called Crispr -- an encoding mechanism that embeds in DNA -- has given science an override. Crispr "drives" the new genes into all the organism's offspring, rather than some (who would have lower chances of survival and thus be naturally un-selected). Bill and Melinda Gates, in their thirst to "help" the world, have funded a $40-million gene drive project in Africa.
This is perfect Hegelian dialectic: Risks include the possibility that a gene drive might jump to another species for which it was not intended, or that the suppression of one undesirable organism will lead to the emergence of another that is even worse. Imagine the new opportunities to tinker with biology once the dominoes start to fall! Read more here and here.