The GeneConvene Global Collaborative advances best practices and informed decision making for development of genetic biocontrol technologies to improve public health.

GeneConvene offers technical information, advice, training, and coordination for research on gene drive and other genetic biocontrol technologies – technologies that use genetic variants of a target species, like a disease-transmitting mosquito, to control its undesirable impacts.


Genetic Biocontrol as a Tool to Fight Malaria

The concept of using genetic biocontrol to prevent malaria transmission by mosquitoes is over 80 years old. The idea is to create or find a genetic variation that creates a desired effect, like reducing the mosquito population or making mosquitoes unable to transmit malaria. When mosquitoes with this trait mate with wild mosquitoes, malaria transmission can be reduced. Gene drive is a family of genetic biocontrol approaches where the genetic variation persists in the wild population, and in some cases can spread beyond the area where it is introduced. Gene drive is recognized as a potentially powerful tool to help control malaria.


The Challenge of Malaria and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Efforts to control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, but the tools and resources available are not sufficient to protect everyone. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2021 there were 247 million cases of malaria and 619,000 deaths attributable to the disease, most of which were children under 5. More than half of the world’s population lives in areas where mosquitoes carry viruses with epidemic potential. Given the extent of the human suffering and financial hardship these diseases cause, there is an urgent need to evaluate new prevention tools.

The Role of GeneConvene

Genetic biocontrol has been used on disease-transmitting mosquitoes for over 60 years, but scientific advances in the past 20 years have dramatically improved the ability of researchers to engineer new genetic biocontrol approaches, including gene drives. GeneConvene was created to support informed decision making on the open scientific, regulatory, and policy questions raised by these new technologies.

  • Ensure that genetic biocontrol research addresses important public health priorities ethically, safely and effectively

  • Support the development of genetic biocontrol governance frameworks that are rigorous and well-implemented at local, national, regional and international levels

  • Distribute timely and accurate information to help all stakeholders make informed and responsible decisions


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