Gene Drive: Past, Present and Future Roads to Vertebrate Biocontrol

G. R. McFarlane, C. B. A. Whitelaw and S. G. Lillico,  Applied Biosciences,  2:52-70. 2023.

Scientists have long sought a technology to humanely control populations of damaging invasive pests in a species-specific manner. Gene drive technology could see this become a reality. This review charts the twists and turns on the road to developing gene drives in vertebrates. We focus on rodents, as these will likely be the first targets, and trace the journey from the early understanding of selfish genetic elements to engineering gene drives in mice; before discussing future research focuses and the crucial role that public perception and governance will play in the application of this technology. The realisation of robust gene drive strategies in vertebrate pests has the potential to revolutionise biocontrol.

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