In DepthSCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Gene drive turns mosquitoes into malaria fighters

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Science  27 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6264, pp. 1014
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6264.1014

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Summary

The war against malaria has a new ally: a controversial technology for spreading genes throughout a population of animals. In the laboratory, researchers have harnessed a so-called gene drive to efficiently endow mosquitoes with genes that make them immune to the malaria parasite—and unable to spread it. If successfully applied in the wild, the approach could help wipe out the disease, at least in some corners of the world. But testing that promise in the field may have to wait until a wider debate over gene drives is resolved. A firestorm has erupted over the risks of experimenting with gene drives, nevermind applying them in the field, and there is a strong push to get the public involved in regulating this technology early on in the development of specific gene drive uses.