Gene drives: How do we foster innovation without damaging ecosystems?

qhrewsafp k niei
Credit: Егор Камелев

…. [G]ene drive technology has fundamentally added the ability of humans to modify wild organisms, not only domesticated organisms. With the ability to make rapid, permanent changes to wild species on the near horizon, we must act now to implement policies that will carefully regulate their use while allowing for vital scientific research to continue.

While GMOs have become fundamental to the farming industry, they always have the same limitation: they must be protected and maintained on farms, in pens, or other human-maintained environments. If released into the wild, GMOs find themselves out-competed by their naturally occurring cousins, since genetic modifications made to suit human tastes (think seedless watermelons) typically have a hard time surviving in the wild. An exception to this rule is the survival of invasive species when introduced into a different environment and have no natural competition in their new habitat.

Related article:  Plagued by pest, African farmers may soon have access to insect-resistant GMO cowpeas—for free

Eventually, offspring with the gene drive replace the unaltered form of the organism, an overwhelming natural section that would normally favor the unaltered form. This profoundly new capability makes gene drives different from GMOs which are not designed to replace wild organisms and do not have the capability to overtake wild populations if accidentally released.

Because gene drives, as tools for the management and engineering of species in the wild, are intrinsically different from GMOs, it is not adequate to regulate them like other GMOs ….

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend