Chemical controllable gene drive in Drosophila

D. Chae, J. Lee, N. Lee, K. Park, S. J. Moon and H. H. Kim,  ACS Synthetic Biology,  in press. 2020.

Gene drive systems that propagate transgenes via super-Mendelian inheritance can potentially control insect-borne diseases and agricultural pests. However, concerns have been raised regarding unforeseen ecological consequences, and methods that prevent undesirable gene drive effects have been proposed. Here, we report a chemical-induced control of gene drive. We prepared a CRISPR-based gene drive system that can be removed by a site-specific recombinase, Rippase, the expression of which is induced by the chemical RU486 in fruit flies. Exposure of fruit flies to RU486 resulted in 7-12% removal of gene drive elements at each generation, leading to a significant reduction in gene drive-fly propagation. Mathematical modeling and simulation suggest that our system offers several advantages over a previously reported gene drive control system. Our chemical control system can provide a proof-of-principle for the reversible control of gene drive effects depending on ecological status and human needs.


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