Why use gene drive systems instead of other genetic biocontrol techniques?

Category: Vector Borne Disease

There at least three reasons why gene drive systems might be considered in lieu of other genetic biocontrol techniques:

  • Those that have the potential to persist and spread within and between interbreeding populations of the target organism will be better suited for control needs that extend over large areas (country or regional level).
  • Genetic biocontrol methods such as the Sterile Insect Technique and related techniques require continuous rearing, transport, and release of large numbers of insects to sustain control of the target organism. Maintaining such programs over time can be challenging and resource intensive. The ability of gene drive technologies to persist and spread could make them easier to deliver and maintain, contributing to their sustained impact.
  • Gene drive technologies can be designed either to reduce or eliminate the target organism from the local environment or to leave the target species in the environment but to alter it genetically in such a way that it is no longer a threat. This is flexibility is an important feature of gene drive technologies.
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