Can gene drive technologies be used in humans?

Category: Gene Drive Mechanisms

This is considered highly unlikely because gene drive technology would be extremely ineffective in spreading a genetic trait through human populations. While it may be technically feasible to assemble a gene drive system that would function in human cells, that system would be very inefficient in terms of spread because humans have a relatively long generation time (20 years) and few offspring (the global average fertility rate is ~2.5 children per woman).

Gene drive should not be confused with gene editing, which is being used in some human gene therapy applications. Gene therapy involves only the genetic alteration of somatic cells (cells making up parts of the body other than sperm or eggs), and those alterations will not be transmitted to the next generation.

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