Engineered and natural gene drives: mechanistically the same, yet not same in kind

R. F. Medina and J. Kuzma,  Nature Communications,  14:5994. 2023.

We propose the use of the terms natural gene drive (NGD) and engineered gene drive (EGD) arguing against James et al.1, who think both should be included within the term “gene drive”, based on their mechanistic similarities. Thanks to CRISPR-Cas-based gene editing, engineered gene drive has suddenly become feasible as a potential cost-effective pest control tool that could help us resolve wicked challenges2,3 . In nature, several organisms harbor genes that “selfishly” drive themselves into populations. This natural gene drive uses similar mechanisms to the ones use today to drive engineered genes into laboratory populations4 article we disagree with James et al.1 .In this who have recently proposed that because natural and engineered gene drives are mechanistically indistinguishable from a molecular standpoint, they should both be referred as “gene drives” because “a gene drive is a gene drive.” We instead propose that two terms be used to distinguish between natural and engineered gene drives, we second Wells and Steinbrecher5 arguments, and propose to use the terms natural gene drive (NGD) and engineered gene drive (EGD).

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