Gene Drives

genedrive report


With new genetic engineering techniques, in particular CRISPR/Cas9, the idea to not only change but also eradicate species via gene drives has gained new momentum. Gene drives bypass the rules of inheritance and can thereby accelerate the spread of modified genes across wild populations. Ongoing research projects target the eradication of disease vectors, harmful invasive species, or agricultural pests.

As gene drives have a high level of unpredictability and potentially severe negative impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems, and agroecosystems and remain very difficult to contain geographically, they raise fundamental ecological, ethical, social, and legal questions and have led to manyfold reservations and criticisms (see Gene Drive report co-published by CSS).