Gene Drives: Pursuing opportunities, minimizing risk

K. L. Warmbrod, A. Kobokovich, R. West, G. Ray, M. Trotochaud and M. Montague,  Center for Health Security,  2020.

In the future, it may be possible for humans to manipulate entire ecosystems with little continuous input through the use of emerging biotechnologies. Gene drives are one such technology, themselves derived from nature, with the potential to make directed and highly specific modifications to the genetics of entire populations, with repercussions for whole ecosystems. While there has been extensive public analysis of the risks and benefits of gene drives for the control of malaria, which will likely be their first practical application, this report anticipates the world after that initial application.

This study analyzed the current state of gene drive technologies, the ways in which they might be deployed in the field, and the state of regulatory policy governing their development. Elements of legislation should include monitoring, risk assessment, tiered registration, and the requirement for a reversal drive to be developed and ready to deploy if needed at the same time the original drive is deployed


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