Scientists paved the way for field trials of gene-driven organisms

K. Winslet,  FLORIDA News Times,  2020.

The term gene drive needs to be clarified. Failure to do so risks disrupting the field, disrupting the general public, and losing technology that may help solve problems otherwise difficult in public health, conservation, and food security.  The recent rise of gene drive research, accelerated by CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, has brought about a wave of transformation throughout science. Developed with selected traits that have been genetically engineered to spread throughout the population, Gene Drive Organisms (GDOs) provide solutions to a variety of difficult health and environmental challenges, from control to protection of dengue and malaria. A crop against plant pests that has the power to dramatically change the way it develops.But before these gene-drive organisms move from laboratory to field testing, scientists are proposing courses for responsible testing of this powerful technology. These issues are addressed in the new Policy Forum article on Biotechnology Governance, “Core Commitment for Field Trials of Gene Drive Organisms,” published December 18, 2020. Science By more than 40 researchers, including several scientists at the University of California, San Diego.“Gene drives have led to rapid research, so we need to take a step back and think about its application and its impact on humankind,” said Akbari, the lead author of the article. Associate Professor, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego. “A new initiative to tackle field testing is to ensure that testing is conducted safely, transparent, publicly accountable, and scientifically, politically and socially robust.”

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