Gene drives based on CRISPR-Cas9 technology are increasingly being considered as tools for reducing the capacity of mosquito populations to transmit malaria, and one of the most promising options is driving endonuclease genes that reduce the fertility of female mosquitoes. Here, we use simulation modelling to understand the factors affecting the spread of this type of gene drive over a one million-square kilometre area of West Africa containing substantial environmental and social heterogeneity.
Engineered reproductive species barriers are useful for impeding gene flow and driving desirable genes into wild populations in a reversible threshold-dependent manner. We engineer multiple reproductively isolated SPECIES and demonstrate their threshold-dependent gene drive capabilities in D. melanogaster.
We discovered five maternal-effect Toxin/Antidotes (TAs) in the nematode Caenorhabditis tropicalis and one in C. briggsae. Unlike previously reported TAs, five of these novel toxins do not kill embryos but instead cause larval arrest or developmental delay. Our results show that TAs are common in Caenorhabditis species, target a wide range of developmental processes, and may act as barriers preventing gene flow.
Frequent selfing in Caenorhabditis. tropicalis may be a strategy to avoid gene drive-mediated outbreeding depression. Mating systems have profound effects on genetic diversity and compatibility. Caenorhabditis tropicalis is the least genetically diverse among 3 species of Caenorhabditis that have evolved a mating system dependent on self-fertilization and is the most afflicted by outbreeding depression.
Scientists have long had a name for a gruesome insect that feeds on live flesh of warm-blooded mammals: C. hominivorax, Latin for “man eater.” But now, they have the parasite’s number. In a paper published this week in the journal Communications Biology, researchers from across the United States and beyond describe the assembly and analysis of the New World screwworm’s genome — a map of the fly’s 534 million DNA base pairs.
We examined the current institutions and governing bodies among various continents that could have an impact on gene drive governance or the potential to adapt to its future use. Possible governance strategies also are proposed that seek to bridge gaps and promote an ethically sound policy framework. Ideally, governance strategies should be developed before or at the same pace as gene drive research to anticipate field releases and maximize their impact as a public health tool.