The New Yorker Magazine: Gene Drives as a Tool for Saving Nature

E. Heber,  Island Conservation,  2021.

Genetically modified organisms are nothing new, and over the past decade, gene drive technology, a form of genetic modification designed to spread a gene or specific trait throughout a population, has continued to grow. It presents an incredible opportunity for people and the environment. In a recent New Yorker Magazine article, entitled “CRISPR and the Splice to Survive,” journalist and best-selling author Elizabeth Kolbert dives into the world of gene drive research. She touches on aspects of gene drive research from altering the toxin produced by cane toads to recovering nearly-extinct trees to eradicating invasive mice through attrition, all to understand the possibilities this tool could hold. Gene drives are a naturally occurring phenomenon where one gene has a greater than 50% chance of being passed down to the next generation. Thanks to a technology called the CRISPR-Cas system, humans can edit the genetic code of an organism and create a gene drive, which can help prevent the spread of diseases and the extinction of wildlife.

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