National Academies hit the brakes on gene drive-modified organisms

Abbasi, J.,  JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association,  316:482-483. 2016.

Despite their potential for fighting Zika, malaria, and other public health scourges, organisms that have been engineered to quickly spread genetic modifications through a population—and possibly an entire species—are not ready for release into the wild, a committee of interdisciplinary experts concluded in a recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine ( So-called gene drive–modified organisms “require more research in laboratories and highly controlled field trials,” the committee said in a statement ( Gene drives are systems of “biased inheritance” that enhance a genetic element’s ability to pass from parent organism to offspring through sexual reproduction. These selfish genetic elements could be genes or their fragments, all or parts of chromosomes, or noncoding DNA, the report stated.