Ethics and Risks

There has been and continues to be much written and said about the risk and ethical dimensions of researching and potentially using gene drive technologies.  Here are two articles from the Virtual Institute’s knowledgebase on the ethics and risks associated with Gene Drive technologies.

de Wit (2019) Gene driving the farm: who decides, who owns, and who benefits?:   This piece, while looking at gene drive technologies from the perspective of agriculture, touches on many of the gene drive-inspired conversations that are ongoing.

Dressel (2019) Gene Drives: A report on their science, applications, social aspects, ethics and regulations.:  This report was written from a perspective of skepticism and touches on issues and concerns regarding risks, social issues, ethics and governance.

Citations

Otago GE Wasp Project Violates International Gene Drive Agreement

GE-Free NZ,  Scoop,  2024.
Professor Dearden, Otago University, has received $11 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) to engineer wasps using gene drive technology. He is only consulting with Māori and regulators, ignoring and side-lining the views of other concerned New ...

Consultation on a draft National Gene Drive Policy Guide

Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Health and Aged Care),  National Gene Technology Scheme,  2024.
The term gene drive is used to describe organisms which have been genetically modified to increase the rate for a particular trait to spread through a sexually reproducing population, spreading the genes or traits through a species at a faster rate than normal inheritance. ...

Rescue by gene swamping as a gene drive deployment strategy

Keith D. Harris, Gili Greenbaum,  Cell Reports,  42. 2023.
Gene drives are genetic constructs that can spread deleterious alleles with potential application to population suppression of harmful species. As gene drives can potentially spill over to other populations or species, control measures and fail-safe strategies must be considered. ...

Framing Challenges and Opportunities for Canada: Expert Panel on Regulating Gene-Edited Organisms for Pest Control

CCA (Council of Canadian Academies),  Framing Challenges and Opportunities for Canada,  2023.
Gene-editing technologies are changing approaches to pest management. Rapidly evolving but unproven gene-editing tools could potentially mitigate the impacts of pests in public health, conservation, and agricultural contexts. The use of these tools, however, is accompanied by ...

Gene Drives: A report on their science, applications, social aspects, ethics and regulations

H. Dressel,  Critical Scientists Switzerland; European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility; Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler,  2019.
Engineered Gene Drives are a new form of genetic modification that provides the tools for permanently modifying or potentially even eradicating species or populations in the wild. Unlike the previous genetically modified organisms (GMOs), gene drive organisms (GDOs) are not meant ...

Gene driving the farm: who decides, who owns, and who benefits?

Montenegro de Wit, M,  Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems,  43:1054-1074. 2019.
This commentary essay explores the social and ecological implications of gene-driving agriculture.
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