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Bill Gates says that a new technology that could completely eradicate some species of mosquito could be ready to put into broad use in just two years, although he admits that there is no regulatory framework for approving the method.
The new technology, called a gene drive, uses advances in molecular biology to mimic something that has existed in nature for some time. Most genes have a 50% chance of being passed on to offspring. But some can actually aggressively insert themselves into DNA, raising their odds and hijacking the normal process of evolution.
Gates noted that the regulatory path for the technology is “unclear,” and that it’s not certain what will need to be done from a legal perspective before exterminating some species of mosquitoes in this way. However, he said, “I would deploy it two years from now.”