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Gene drive: progress and prospects


Wedell, N; Price, T A R; Lindholm, A K (2019). Gene drive: progress and prospects. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 286(1917):20192709.

Abstract

Gene drive is a naturally occurring phenomenon in which selfish genetic elements manipulate gametogenesis and reproduction to increase their own transmission to the next generation. Currently, there is great excitement about the potential of harnessing such systems to control major pest and vector populations. If synthetic gene drive systems can be constructed and applied to key species, they may be able to rapidly spread either modifying or eliminating the targeted populations. This approach has been lauded as a revolutionary and efficient mechanism to control insect-borne diseases and crop pests. Driving endosymbionts have already been deployed to combat the transmission of dengue and Zika virus in mosquitoes. However, there are a variety of barriers to successfully implementing gene drive techniques in wild populations. There is a risk that targeted organisms will rapidly evolve an ability to suppress the synthetic drive system, rendering it ineffective. There are also potential risks of synthetic gene drivers invading non-target species or populations. This Special Feature covers the current state of affairs regarding both natural and synthetic gene drive systems with the aim to identify knowledge gaps. By understanding how natural drive systems spread through populations, we may be able to better predict the outcomes of synthetic drive release.

Abstract

Gene drive is a naturally occurring phenomenon in which selfish genetic elements manipulate gametogenesis and reproduction to increase their own transmission to the next generation. Currently, there is great excitement about the potential of harnessing such systems to control major pest and vector populations. If synthetic gene drive systems can be constructed and applied to key species, they may be able to rapidly spread either modifying or eliminating the targeted populations. This approach has been lauded as a revolutionary and efficient mechanism to control insect-borne diseases and crop pests. Driving endosymbionts have already been deployed to combat the transmission of dengue and Zika virus in mosquitoes. However, there are a variety of barriers to successfully implementing gene drive techniques in wild populations. There is a risk that targeted organisms will rapidly evolve an ability to suppress the synthetic drive system, rendering it ineffective. There are also potential risks of synthetic gene drivers invading non-target species or populations. This Special Feature covers the current state of affairs regarding both natural and synthetic gene drive systems with the aim to identify knowledge gaps. By understanding how natural drive systems spread through populations, we may be able to better predict the outcomes of synthetic drive release.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Physical Sciences > General Environmental Science
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Immunology and Microbiology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Environmental Science, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:18 December 2019
Deposited On:12 Feb 2020 16:33
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:11
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.2709

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