Why the EU should back research into gene drive – even if Europe never uses it

R. Müller,  The Brussels Times,  2021.

As the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy reaches the European Parliament, it has reopened a worrying debate about research into gene drive technology, a tool which could pave the way for biasing the inheritance of desired genetic traits through targeted species. Advances in this kind of genetic technology could allow scientists to create a blueprint for stopping diseases spread by mosquitoes and protecting endangered species, both significant reasons for supporting this emerging field. Yet even if EU decision makers see no need for gene drive technology in Europe at present, there are compelling reasons for supporting ongoing research, and rejecting irresponsible and short-sighted calls for a moratorium. Firstly, the threat of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases may be minimal today but it existed on the continent within living memory, with Europe first becoming malaria-free in 1975, and then again only as recently as 2015.

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