Engineered Reproductively Isolated Species Drive Reversible Population Replacement

A. Buchman, I. Shriner, T. Yang, J. Liu, I. Antoshechkin, J. M. Marshall, M. W. Perry and O. S. Akbari,  bioRxiv,  2020.08.09.242982. 2020.

Engineered reproductive species barriers are useful for impeding gene flow and driving desirable genes into wild populations in a reversible threshold-dependent manner. However, methods to generate synthetic barriers have not been developed in advanced eukaryotes. To overcome this challenge, we engineered SPECIES (Synthetic Postzygotic barriers Exploiting CRISPR-based Incompatibilities for Engineering Species) to generate postzygotic reproductive barriers. Using this approach, we engineer multiple reproductively isolated SPECIES and demonstrate their threshold-dependent gene drive capabilities in D. melanogaster. Given the near-universal functionality of CRISPR tools, this approach should be portable to many species, including insect disease vectors in which confinable gene drives could be of great practical utility.


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