Perspectives

Opinions on and about gene drive technologies and their uses.

No Environmental Release of Gene Drive Organisms

Anonymous,  STOP GENE DRIVES,  2022.
We urge governments to prevent the environmental release of gene drive organisms and to establish a global moratorium on the release of gene drive organisms at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Gene drives work against natural rules of inheritance forcing nearly ...
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Should we use a genetic weapon against mosquitoes carrying malaria?

T. H. Saey,  ScienceNewsExplores,  2022.
In a large laboratory cage, a male mosquito carries a genetic weapon that could launch the destruction of his species. That loss could also mean the end of the parasite that causes malaria. The weapon? A self-replicating bit of DNA known as a gene drive. It’s one of the most ...
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Driving lessons: a brief (personal) history of centromere drive

H. S. Malik,  Genetics,  2022.
Meiosis is an important specialized cell division in many eukaryotic species, including fungi, plants, and animals. Meiosis results in the production of haploid gametes starting from a diploid cell via 1 round of replication and 2 rounds of cell division. In an influential ...
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SHOULD WE CREATE GENE DRIVE GREY SQUIRRELS

S. Hartley and T. Law,  GeneDriveGovernance.org,  2022.
UK scientists have proposed gene drive as a management tool to control grey squirrels. Now is a good time to talk about this emerging technology because the hopes and concerns of experts, stakeholders and the public can help to determine if or how it might be developed. To help ...
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WORLDWIDE: EXPERTS ON GENE DRIVES

Stop Gene Drive,  STOP GENE DRIVES,  2022.
We are travelling the world speaking to some of the world’s leading thinkers, activists and academics on the impact of gene drives. We interviewed more than 20 experts from around the world
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Externalities modulate the effectiveness of the Wolbachia release programme

E. E. Ooi and A. Wilder-Smith,  The Lancet Infectious Diseases,  2022.
Despite the remarkable outcome in Yogyakarta, the wMel approach also has some challenges. In particular, the extent to which ecological, weather, and other external factors influence the dissemination and establishment of wMel in complex urban environments remains unclear. ...
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Extreme GM “extinction technology” of gene drives presented as “natural”

GM Watch,  GM Watch,  2022.
Now similar Orwellian moves are happening in the area of gene drives. A gene drive is a genetic engineering technology that forces a particular genetic modification through a population by changing the natural rules of inheritance, usually to ensure that it is increasingly – ...
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Humans Have a Long History of Making ‘Very Bad Decisions’ to Save Animals

T. McDonnell,  The New York Times,  2022.
Environmental reporter Tim McDonnell on the potential negative consequences of animal conservation efforts. McDonnell highlights Target Malaria’s research on gene drive to “eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitos” and quotes New Zealand researcher Philipp Messer saying that ...
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Toward product-based regulation of crops

F. Gould, R. M. Amasino, D. Brossard, C. R. Buell, R. A. Dixon, J. B. Falck-Zepeda, M. A. Gallo, K. E. Giller, L. L. Glenna, T. Griffin, D. Magraw, C. Mallory-Smith, K. V. Pixley, E. P. Ransom, D. M. Stelly and C. N. Stewart,  Science,  377:1051-1053. 2022.
Current process-based approaches to regulation are no longer fit for purpose Much effort has been expended globally over the past four decades to craft and update country-specific and multinational safety regulations that can be applied to crops developed by genetic engineering ...
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Outbreaks of arboviruses, biotechnological innovations and vector control: facing the unexpected

C. Boëte,  Innovative Strategies for Vector Control,  6:219-231. 2022.
Outbreaks of arboviruses have occurred in the last decades in many places around the world and a variety of responses have been taken in order to control them. Responses ranged from vaccination campaigns to the use of conventional vector control methods. Innovative approaches ...
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Natural selfish genetic elements should not be defined as gene drives

M. A. Wells and R. A. Steinbrecher,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  119:e2201142119. 2022.
Gene drives are increasingly discussed in the political realm,and how the term is defined therefore has important impli-cations. The opinion piece from Alphey et al. (1) identifies alack of consensus on the definition and makes explicitchanges in how the terminology is being used ...
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What can we learn from selfish loci that break Mendel’s law?

S. E. Zanders,  PLOS Biology,  20:e3001700. 2022.
Mendel’s law of segregation provides a critical foundation for genetic inquiry It is not, however, without exceptions Historically, 2 such exceptions (sex chromosome linkage and chromosome missegregation in meiosis) were used by Drosophila geneticists to help demonstrate ...
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Mendel’s laws of heredity on his 200th birthday: What have we learned by considering exceptions?

J. B. Wolf, A. C. Ferguson-Smith and A. Lorenz,  Heredity,  129:1-3. 2022.
Violations of Mendel’s laws can generically be referred to as ‘non-Mendelian inheritance’. However, from that broad perspective, nearly all inheritance systems would show non-Mendelian inheritance (at least to some degree). To hold exactly, Mendel’s laws impose strict ...
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New weapons to fight malaria transmission: A historical view

W. Huang, S.-J. Cha and M. Jacobs-Lorena,  Entomological Research,  2022.
The stagnation of our fight against malaria in recent years, mainly due to the development of mosquito insecticide resistance, argues for the urgent development of new weapons. The dramatic evolution of molecular tools in the last few decades led to a better understanding of ...
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The Financialisation of Malaria in Africa: Burkina Faso, rogue capital & GM/gene drive mosquitoes

S. Mentz-Lagrange and S. Swanepoel,  African Centre for Biodiversity,  2022.
This paper seeks to understand the financialisation of malaria as a vehicle for rogue capital in a context of a weakened state (through capture, corruption and coups) and the power that limits effective interventions. It shows how malaria, along with other diseases, is ...
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Gene-drive mosquitoes, a prospect for future malaria control

S. A. Monawwer, A. O. I. Alzubaidi, F. Yasmin, S. M. Q. Haimour, S. M. I. Shay and I. Ullah,  Pan African Medical Journal,  41:2-6. 2022.
Despite major developments in malaria control over the past two decades, the disease continues to scourge the human population across the globe. Rising concerns such as insecticide resistance amongst vector mosquitoes are a cause of huge fear amongst healthcare providers and ...
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Uncle Sam’s Dangerous Game

X. Ping,  XINHUANET,  2021.
Since the very beginning, residents in Florida Keys doubted if the “self-limiting” gene of Genetically Modified (GM) mosquitoes brought and released there by Oxitec, a biotech firm, and approved by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Keys Mosquito Control ...
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Gene drive: a faster route to plant improvement

H. A. Siddiqui, T. Harvey-Samuel and S. Mansoor,  Trends in Plant Science,  2021.
Gene drives for control of vector-borne diseases have been demonstrated in insects but remain challenging in plants. Theoretically, they could be transformative in speeding breeding programs and contributing to food security through providing novel weed control methods. Zhang et ...
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Gene drive revolution: How genetically tweaked mosquitoes could tip the balance in the battle to contain malaria

F. Okumu,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2021.
In 2016, a World Health Organisation (WHO) panel concluded that even with the best use of current approaches, there would still be 11 million malaria cases in 2050. What’s needed are longer-term integrated strategies to complement current methods. These may include large-scale ...
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Calling the latest gene technologies ‘natural’ is a semantic distraction — they must still be regulated

J. A. Heinemann, D. J. Paull, S. Walker and B. Kurenbach,  The Conversation,  2021.
Legislators around the world are being asked to reconsider how to regulate the latest developments in gene technology, genome editing and gene silencing. Both the European Court of Justice and the New Zealand High Court have ruled that genome editing techniques should remain ...
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