A Gene Drive Could Wipe Out Mosquitoes. But What If We Want To Turn It Off?

A. Winkler,  freethink,  2020.

Gene drives are powerful tools: they allow scientists to hack how animals pass down genes to their offspring. They could allow us to wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes, preserve endangered species, or fight off crop-eating pests.

But once it’s out in the wild, a gene drive can’t be stopped from spreading — and that makes people nervous. If there are unintended consequences, we want to be able to pull the brakes.

Now, UC San Diego researchers have developed a new genetic system that would let scientists halt or neutralize gene drives, even after they are released into the wild. The implications could be huge.

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