Perspectives

Opinions on and about gene drive technologies and their uses.

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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The viral era

B. Giese,  EMBO reports,  22:e53229. 2021.
New biotechnologies such as gene drives and engineered viruses herald a viral era that would give humans exceptional power over any organism at the level of the genotype. In synthetic biology, orthogonality—in the sense of lack of interference—between different systems or ...
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Africa must not rest until Malaria rests: What is the role of emerging technologies?

R. Oronje,  AFIDEP,  2021.
As we mark the World Mosquito Day today, it is a sad reminder that Malaria still kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, majority of these people in Africa. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Malaria killed 409,000 people in 2019, and 94% of these deaths ...
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The Complex Lives of Mosquitoes: The Key for Malaria Control

F. Okumu,  ISGlobal,  2021.
Mosquitoes spread diseases to millions of people around the world, yet they remain poorly understood by most. Studying their biology and behaviours can help us combat, and eventually eliminate, dangerous diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.There are nearly 3,500 species of ...
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New mosquito control tools are critical

L. Braack,  Open Access Government,  2021.
Globally, we are making slow headway in the fight against malaria, but there has been progress, nonetheless. Since 2000, 39 countries and territories have managed to rid themselves of malaria; the most recent is China. Existing tools can achieve local elimination, but the battle ...
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Invasive Mice and Engineered Genes

W. M. Adams and K. H. Redford,  Yale University Press Blog,  2021.
On Gough Island, a steep speck of land deep in the South Atlantic, giant mice eat albatross chicks as they sit on their nests. They are house mice, accidental arrivals on the ships of long-dead sealers. But they have lost their secretive, timid, mousy ways. Over numerous ...
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2021 WHO guidelines on genetically modified mosquitoes

M. Makoni,  The Lancet Microbe,  2:e353. 2021.
On May 19, 2021, WHO updated its guidelines for research and development on genetically modified mosquitoes, which define the standards for decision-making about how and when testing should proceed and describe best practices to ensure that research done in a public health ...
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Host-associated differentiation of target pests should be assessed before using gene drive as a pest control tool – an opinion

R. F. Medina,  Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata,  2021.
Abstract Advances in gene editing have made feasible the potential use of gene drive for pest control. Ecological risk assessments will certainly be required before this technology can be released into open fields. In this article I argue for the importance to include ...
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Selfish DNA: how new gene technology could stop the advance of mice

M. McMillan,  Tentenfield Star,  2021.
It used to be that seeing a mouse in the house was a rare occurrence. Now, it's rarely a day that goes by where we aren't seeing or hearing the little vermin. Current methods of baiting and trapping are struggling to control the plague of mice spreading across regional ...
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Living With the Limits of Our New Clerisy’s Knowledge

R. Fernandez,  PJ Media,  2021.
We are living in a strange time when reason has fallen short of human expectations and there is, once again, pressure to place our trust in faith. Leighton Woodhouse hit the nail on the head when he argued that we have appointed a New Clerisy to rule over us, not because they are ...
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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 ...
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Drivers of mosquito mating

N. C. Manoukis,  Science,  371:340. 2021.
Gene drive systems are based on the release of organisms whose genomes have been modified or engineered to spread a desired allele or trait (such as resistance to the parasites that cause malaria) through a population. Success will depend on the release of genetically modified ...
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Standardizing the Definition of Gene Drive

L. S. Alphey, A. Crisanti, F. Randazzo and O. S. Akbari,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  202020417. 2020.
As members of the gene drive community, we have developed a set of definitions to help stakeholders discuss the topic and communicate using a common understanding of terms.
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Mutagenic chain reaction cannot be sufficiently controlled

Christoph Then,  Testbiotech,  2020.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the results of its public consultation on the risks of so-called gene drive organisms. Testbiotech accuses the authority of disguising the real dimension of the risks. Gene drives are designed to spread artificial genetic ...
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The ethical way to alter organisms

K. Esvelt,  Boston Globe,  2020.
As my colleagues and I first described in 2014, we can use CRISPR genome editing to duplicate the most powerful form of “gene drive,” a ubiquitous natural phenomenon that happens when a genetic change is inherited more frequently than usual. Encode the CRISPR machinery next ...
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Advances in genetic engineering test democracy’s capacity for good decision-making

N. Kofler and R. Taitingfong,  Boston Globe,  2020.
New advances in genetic engineering and their application for environmental conservation and public health are further testing our democracy’s capacity for good decision-making. With minimal public input, the Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the release of ...
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Driven to Exterminate

Z. Moloo and J. Thomas,  etc group,  2020.
Gates’s ‘let’s deploy it’ response may not seem out of character, but it was an unusually gung ho response given how risky the technology is widely acknowledged to be.
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Do Africans Want Genetically Modified Mosquitoes?

U. Effiong,  The Pursuit,  2020.
The recent publication by fellow Nigerian scientists—Patricia Okorie and colleagues—originally drew my attention to the issue of GMMs.
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Global citizen deliberation on genome editing

J. S. Dryzek, D. Nicol, S. Niemeyer, S. Pemberton, N. Curato, A. Bächtiger, P. Batterham, B. Bedsted, S. Burall, M. Burgess, G. Burgio, Y. Castelfranchi, H. Chneiweiss, G. Church, M. Crossley, J. de Vries, M. Farooque, M. Hammond, B. He, R. Mendonça, J.,  Science,  369:1435. 2020.
Here we show how, as the global governance vacuum is filled, deliberation by a global citizens' assembly should play a role, for legitimate and effective governance.
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Why the UK could end up deploying risky gene drives while ignoring natural biological control

J. Mathews,  GM Watch,  2020.
First they cloned Dolly the sheep. Now they’re targeting grey squirrels
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