There is a new era rising in molecular biology and it began with CRISPR technology (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), which is a genetic modification tool based on bacterial immune system. Gene drives is another interesting mechanism to use for altering genes but in contrast with CRISPR/Cas system it can only function in sexually reproducing species, leaving viruses and bacteria out of the picture.
Gene drives do not follow the regular 50/50 inheritance ratio and are capable of altering the traits of wild-type populations of organism over many generations. There is a little catch though: they can benefit or reduce the organism’s fitness.
In our Splice Summer Edition, we are featuring this video “Gene Drives: Saving Lives Or Powering Extinctions?” where Jonathan Strickland explains how could gene drives break the rules of natural selection and how we should listen to bioethicists when they are talking about safety measurements before applying gene drives in real world. Enjoy!
By Blazka Orel, MSc, BioSistemika LLC