Policy ForumBiotechnology

Regulating gene drives

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Science  08 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6197, pp. 626-628
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254287
  • How endonuclease gene drives spread altered genes through populations.

    (A) Altered genes (blue) normally have a 50% chance of being inherited by offspring when crossed with a wild-type organism (gray). (B) Gene drives can increase this chance to nearly 100% by cutting homologous chromosomes lacking the alteration, which can cause the cell to copy the altered gene and the drive when it fixes the damage. (C) By ensuring that the gene is almost always inherited, the gene drive can spread the altered gene through a population over many generations, even if the associated trait reduces the reproductive fitness of each organism. The recently developed CRISPR nuclease Cas9, now widely used for genome engineering, may enable scientists to drive genomic changes that can be generated with Cas9 through sexually reproducing organisms (1).

    ILLUSTRATION: P. HUEY/SCIENCE

Additional Files

  • Podcast Interview

    From the 18 July 2014 Science Podcast

    Kenneth Oye discusses the potential for gene drives to control populations in the wild and the concerns that arise with such a powerful technology.

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