National Academies gene drive report ignores key policy issues

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If there is a prize for the fastest emerging tech controversy of the century the ‘gene drive’ may have just won it. In under eighteen months the concept of a ‘mutagenic chain reaction’ that can drive a genetic trait through an entire species became the subject of a US National Academy of Sciences high profile study, with a 216-page report. Previous technology controversies have taken from a decade to over a century to reach that level of policy attention. So why were Gene Drives fast-tracked to science academy report status?

Reading the final result, ‘Gene Drives on the Horizon,’ it appears that what drove the politics to get such a report published, that awesome and troubling political power that gene drives hold, is bizarrely underplayed. It’s not a bad report – it takes seriously the threat to biodiversity and warns strongly against environmental release.

Yet for all that, the NAS’s report fails to deliver a robust policy study because it ducks some of the most important questions.

Read full, original post: The National Academies’ Gene Drive study has ignored important and obvious issues

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