https://www.geneconvenevi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/etc-group-3.png 300 300 David Obrochta /wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GC-color-logo-for-header-3277-x-827-1030x260.png David Obrochta2020-10-14 18:16:082020-10-16 18:22:52Driven to Exterminate
Z. Moloo and J. Thomas,
In 2016, at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy in New York, Bill Gates was asked to give his opinion on gene drives, a risky and controversial new technology that could—by design—lead to the complete extermination of the malaria-carrying mosquito species, Anopheles gambiae. If it were his decision to wipe out this mosquito once and for all, given the risks and benefits being considered, would he be ready to do it? “I would deploy it two years from now,” he replied confidently. However, he added, “How we get approval is pretty open ended.”
Gates’s ‘let’s deploy it’ response may not seem out of character, but it was an unusually gung ho response given how risky the technology is widely acknowledged to be. Gene drives have been dubbed an “extinction technology” and with good reason: gene drive organisms are created by genetically engineering a living organism with a particular trait, and then modifying the organism’s reproductive system in order to always force the modified gene onto future generations, spreading the trait throughout the entire population.
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