Antibiotic resistance hoops countered by gene drive feedback loops

GEN,  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News,  2019.

Where a gene drive that cuts and destroys plasmids may fail, a gene drive that cuts, pastes, and copies plasmids may succeed. The “where,” in this case, is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that carries multiple copies of an antibiotic-resistance gene. That is, the target gene occurs on multiple copies of an “amplified” plasmid.

If some plasmids remain intact, the antibiotic-resistance gene persists and may even be passed to other bacteria. To overcome this problem, scientists based at the University of California (UC), San Diego, developed a gene drive that incorporates a self-amplifying mechanism. Called Pro-AG, for “proactive” active genetics, it increases its efficiency through a positive feedback loop.