Perspectives

Opinions on and about gene drive technologies and their uses.

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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Do Africans need genetically modified mosquitoes?

genetically modified, mosquito, oxitec, autocidal, SIT, perspective, malaria, gene drive synthetic, engagement,,  Mail and Guardian,  2020.
The following is an updated version of an article I wrote for the University of Michigan Risk Science Centre a while ago:
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Viewpoint: Is there a scientific basis to ban gene drive technology that can rid us of virus-carrying rodents and mosquitoes?

K. Vavitas,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2020.
Gene drives may be invaluable tools to control the spread of parasites, invasive species, and disease carriers. But the technology has faced strong opposition from activist groups and some mainstream scientists based on environmental and food safety. Are these concerns valid?
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Cytoplasmic incompatibility: an autocidal mechanism for mosquito population control

V. Dev,  BugBitten BMC,  2020.
Cytoplasmic incompatibility resulting in non-reciprocal fertility is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but remains unexplored to greater extent for the control of insect vector populations. This mechanism deserves priority for mosquito control and reducing disease transmission, ...
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CRISPR gene drives could eliminate many vector-driven pests and diseases, but challenges remain

J. Champer,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2020.
A functioning gene drive system could fundamentally change our strategies for the control of vector-borne diseases by facilitating rapid dissemination of transgenes that prevent pathogen transmission or reduce vector capacity. CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive promises such a mechanism, ...
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An argument for gene drive technology to genetically control populations of insects like mosquitoes and locusts

I. Ronai and B. Lovett,  The Conversation,  2020.
The fate of society rests in part on how humans navigate their complicated relationship with insects – trying to save “good” insects and control “bad” ones. Some insects, like mosquitoes, bite people and make them sick – remember Zika? Now the U.S. mosquito season is ...
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Socrates Untenured: Ethics, Experts, and the Public in the Synthetic Age

C. Preston,  ISSUES in Science and Technology,  2020.
C. Preston (2020). Three tools have transformed biotechnology over the past decade and a half. Gene reading has made it possible to quickly sequence the genome of any living creature. Gene synthesis has made it possible to construct DNA sequences in the lab from constituent ...
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3 innovative technologies stopping malaria

B. Muni,  The Borgen Project,  2020.
Malaria has plummeted by 40% fifteen years after 2000. A report that NCBI published attributed this to mosquito preventative measures like bed netting and insecticides. These interventions and practices, like wearing light color clothing, help at-risk populations fight malaria. ...
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Beyone the buzz

C. Watson,  The Journal Gazette,  2020.
Lately I have found I need to force myself to follow science stories about something besides the pandemic. A story I consider hopeful involves genetically modified mosquitoes; we are developing a new tool that can reduce disease and save lives. The goal is to dramatically ...
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