Gene Drive Research-Related Activities
Gene drive is an emerging innovative technology proposed to promote the preferential inheritance of beneficial genetic traits, thereby increasing the prevalence of these traits in an interbreeding population of the target organism. A variety of gene drive mechanisms occur in nature that can cause specific genetic elements to spread throughout populations in varying degrees. Researchers have long sought to harness these naturally occurring gene drive mechanisms to prevent the transmission of mosquito or other insect-borne diseases that pose some of society's most intractable public health problems. Rapid advances in Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) gene-editing technology now provide a facile way to produce gene drive synthetically, as demonstrated by recent success in laboratory studies showing its potential for reducing malaria transmission by mosquitoes. Many applications of this emerging technology now are being considered, including its use to reduce transmission of mosquito-borne diseases and control invasive species threatening vulnerable ecosystems.
The FNIH is facilitating collaboration, coordination and/or alignment among a variety of stakeholders to advance responsible research, development and, if warranted, implementation of gene drive technologies for the public good. Acting as a neutral convener, the FNIH aims to enable development and dissemination of scientifically rigorous information, support construction of consensus best practices guidance, and provide administrative, regulatory, and technical advice and training to strengthen capacity in these areas.
- To facilitate coordination, collaboration and/or alignment among stakeholders in support of creating an environment in which gene drive and other genetic biocontrol technologies for public health can be safely, ethically and rigorously studied, developed, tested and if warranted, responsibly implemented at appropriate scale to have positive health impact.
The FNIH and other organizations that are funding or otherwise interested in gene drive research are working together to identify areas of mutual interest to facilitate collaboration, coordination, and cooperation.
The FNIH and collaborators have and will continue to develop guidance, recommendations and best practices to inform gene drive research, development and testing.
Researcher Communications Forum: In November 2017, the FNIH convened approximately 70 individuals conducting or interested in gene drive research for a one-day workshop on communications in Baltimore, MD. Workshop participants included scientists with interests in global health, conservation and agriculture and discussed how emerging technologies are perceived by the public. Participants agreed on the utility of bringing this group together on a periodic basis to share information of mutual interest.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation*
- Open Philanthropy Project*
*Provided financial or in-kind support for this program.
- For more information, please contact GeneDrivePrograms@fnih.org.