US national security advisors map plans to counter rogue gene drives

| | July 26, 2017

The JASONs, a group of elite scientists that advises the US government on national security, has weighed in on issues ranging from cyber security to renewing America’s nuclear arsenal. But at a meeting in June, the secretive group took stock of a new threat: gene drives….

That meeting forms part of a broader US national security effort this year to grapple with the possible risks and benefits of a technology that could drive species extinct and alter whole ecosystems. On 19 July, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced US$65 million in funding to scientists studying gene-editing technologies….

Under the DARPA program, seven teams won four-year contracts. [With military funding, they plan] to develop tools to counter rogue gene drives that spread out of control. Such methods include chemicals that block gene-editing or ‘anti-gene drives’ that can reverse a genetic modification or immunize unaltered wild organisms so they are resistant to a gene drive.

Todd Kuiken, who studies policy relating to synthetic biology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh,…has qualms about the US military’s interest in the field; with Safe Genes, DARPA has become the world’s largest government funder of gene-drive research. Kuiken worries that this could sow suspicions about gene drives in parts of the world that view the US military in a less-than-favorable light….

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: US defence agencies grapple with gene drives

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

 

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