ARTICLE | Strategy

Drive safely

CRISPR-based gene drive prompts two forums to draft specific guidelines

August 13, 2015 7:00 AM UTC

The parallel publication of a 27-author Science policy forum article and kickoff of a National Academy of Sciences taskforce last month signal a focused effort by the scientific community to outline the risks of CRISPR-based gene drive and develop safeguards against its misuse. The push is a model of how communication across a field and specific molecular strategies could pre-emptively address concerns about controversial new technologies such as gene editing.

Gene drive refers to any strategy that enables the spread of an allele at frequencies that are higher than predicted by Mendelian inheritance. It occurs in nature too, such as during replicative transposition, in which a transposon facilitates its own insertion into new loci during replication. And although the idea of designing gene drives to spread synthetic alleles across populations is not new, until now it has been difficult to achieve in practice. ...