Employing gene drives to protect rare species comes with risks


There is an ambitious poison baiting campaign currently being planned for Gough [island] in an attempt to control rodent numbers and give [rare] birds a chance to recover.

[A]ttention is now turning to new technologies that could offer more targeted solutions [to pest problems].


One derivative system, synthetic RNA guided gene drives (gene drive), which is based on CRISPR/Cas9, has provided new hope of delivering much needed solutions for threatened species conservation.

Gene drives occur in nature, and so the potential for these naturally occurring gene drives to be used to introduce engineered genes to a genome have been studied for quite some time by molecular biologists.


For example, researchers have successfully used this artificial gene drive technology in the lab to disperse a trait through a group of mosquitoes that made them no longer able to carry the malaria parasite.

While the possibilities for such applications seem endless, the excitement generated by these technologies is tempered by the need to consider the associated risks.


One thing is clear, we will never get closer to answering the questions raised by gene drive without undertaking fundamental research in this area of science. Without developing our understanding of gene drive technologies in the lab, we won’t know if they are a viable solution or not.

Read full, original post: Taking a responsible approach to new genetic technologies for conservation

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend