FNIH Panel on Gene Drive Regulation Emphasizes Need for Local Community Engagement

C. Rizk,  GenomeWeb,  2020.

The development of new technologies — particularly those that change the genome in some way — has almost always been followed by a debate on their governance and regulation. In a bid to prevent the misuse of CRISPR gene editing technology, for example, several international commissions are developing guidelines for the scientific community and world governments on its proper usage and possible regulation.

Genetically modified organisms are another topic of deep debate, with some activists agitating for and getting governments to implement deep restrictions on modified crops. More recently, GMO crops have started to regain public favor, particularly in countries where boosting the levels of nutrients in staple crops could provide a benefit for children, or where certain genome modifications could increase crop yields.

But reversing public biases and, more importantly, governmental regulations against GMOs won’t be a simple matter, even if scientists can show a benefit to the modifications. So, when it comes to the development of the gene drive — another gene modification technology meant to promote the spread of certain genes in organisms such as mosquitoes in order to control or eradicate their populations in a controlled manner — many researchers are determined to foster debate that focuses on the science, includes local communities in the discussion, and leads to governance and regulations that will benefit both the environment and human health.

More related to this:

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Evaluation of genetically modified mosquitoes for the control of vector-borne diseases

Pathway to deployment of gene drive mosquitoes as a potential biocontrol tool for elimination of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa: Recommendations of a scientific working group

Guidance Framework for Testing the Sterile Insect Technique as a Vector Control Tool against Aedes-Borne Diseases

ESA Position Statement on the Importance of Continued Innovation in Gene Drive Technology

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