Gene drives accelerate evolution – but we need brakes

Tsai, Y-HP, Tony,  The Conversation,  2018.

Worried about mice in the kitchen? Fed up with pigeons on your way to work? Teed off by weeds on your lawn? Recent work points to a way that might just reduce – or even eliminate – unwanted species in a short period. The method is based on something called a gene drive – a method of making changes to an entire population of a specific species by altering its genetic material (its genome).; ; Although gene drives are today restricted to the confines of a few laboratories, they have immense promise. In addition to potential pest removal they might, for example, allow us to make livestock more resilient to disease, enhance the nutritional value of crops, or eliminate the mosquitoes that transmit infectious diseases such as zika and malaria.