Modelling the effect of migration on the localisation and spread of a gene drive

C. Benjamin James and F.-L. Alexandre Jules Hen,  bioRxiv,  2023.04.02.535303. 2023.

Gene drives have the potential to address pressing ecological issues. Through the super-Mendelian inheritance of a gene drive, a trait can be spread through a population even in spite of a fitness cost. This ability to spread is both its greatest quality and detractor. We may not want a gene drive to spread universally. If a gene drive were designed to cause the collapse of a pest population, it may inadvertently cause the collapse of the entire species. Migration is the mechanism through which a gene drive can spread to distant populations. Understanding its effect on the progression of a gene drive is crucial to our ability to control a gene drive. While migration can spread the gene drive to other populations, equally it can bring in other alleles to the population that may disrupt the progression of the gene drive. Through our deterministic migration gene drive model we can assess the conditions in which a gene drive is likely to spread to unintended populations, and if a gene drive is likely to be displaced by incoming alleles.

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