A gene drive is a gene drive: the debate over lumping or splitting definitions

S. L. James, D. A. O'Brochta, F. Randazzo and O. Akbari,  Nature Communications,  2023.

Gene drive technologies are being considered as a new approach to address a variety of currently intractable global problems, including to prevent disease transmission, reduce crop loss, and preserve biodiversity1. There are some outside the genetics research community who argue that wide use of the term “gene drive” to encompass selfish genetic elements found either in extant organisms (natural gene drives) or assembled in the laboratory (synthetic gene drives) will discourage the necessary scrutiny of risks that may be associated with the introduction of synthetic gene drives into free-living populations of target organisms2,3. Here we argue that the current definition is both scientifically sound and promotes good governance.

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