Knowledge engagement in gene drive research for malaria control

Hartley, ST, D.; Ledingham, K.; Coulibaly, M.; Diabate, A.; Dicko, B.; Diop, S.; Kayondo, J.; Namukwaya, A.; Nourou, B.; Toe, L. P.,  PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,  13:e0007233. 2019.

Scientists and funding bodies have made repeated calls for public engagement in gene drive. In 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) published its report, Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values. The report identified public engagement as a key area of responsible science, defining engagement as “seeking and facilitating the sharing and exchange of knowledge, perspectives, and preferences between or among groups who often have differences in expertise, power, and values”. Researchers are asked to participate in two-way engagement with publics (defined as stakeholders, communities, and the public) to allow their knowledge to contribute to technology development and align the technology with public values. In this viewpoint, we share our initial research findings in this area and propose a conceptual tool that contributes to the debate at this critical juncture.