Irreversible ecosystem engineering with Gene Drive Organisms

Save Our Seeds,  Save Our Seeds,  2020.

Gene drive technology is a particular application of the new genetic engineering tool CRISPR/Cas9. It is designed to genetically modify,
replace or eradicate wild populations or entire species. So far it works in mosquitos, mice, flies, yeast and nematodes. But in principle it
could be used to genetically modify any sexually reproducing organism. Gene drive organisms (GDOs) are meant to mate with their wild
relatives and spread their engineered genes to ALL of their offspring. This forced inheritance pattern circumvents natures normal rules of
inheritance. It triggers a genetic chain reaction in which the genetic engineering tool CRISPR/Cas9 and sometimes an additional new gene
are passed on from generation to generation. Genetic changes induced by a gene drive can lead to sterility or the change of sex ratio of
their descendants, leading to a crash in their population. First field trials in nature are foreseen for the near future.