Gene Drives Built to Follow More Stringent Rules of the Road

Anonymous,  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News,  2021.

Gene drives, or systems that accelerate the spread of desirable genetic traits into a population, may be built to achieve specific levels of spread when released into the wild. By exerting control over the degree of spread, those who unleash gene drives may realize the benefits promised by gene drives—the suppression of disease-carrying or crop-destroying insects—while minimizing the risks that unintended genetic changes could occur that would lead to undesirable ecological outcomes. A gene drive engineered to allow for a high degree of control was recently introduced by scientists based at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The new gene drive is a “split drive” system. Details appeared in an article titled, “Inherently confinable split-drive systems in Drosophila.” The article demonstrates that split-drive systems may allow various genetic parameters and strategies to be used to either limit or extend drive potential.

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