Author Topic: Gene drive, a boon or concern?  (Read 166 times)

Dave

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Gene drive, a boon or concern?
« on: December 07, 2017, 09:43:49 PM »
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In genetics, gene drive is the phenomenon in which the inheritance of a particular gene or set of genes is favorably biased. Gene drive can arise through a variety of mechanisms and results in its prevalence increasing in a population.[1] Engineered gene drives have been proposed to provide an effective means of genetically modifying populations or even whole species.

wiki

It seems this technology can be used to virtualy wipe out whole species. In the case of malaria carrying mosquitos, should, say, all the countrues in Africa decide to apply the tech then it would drastically reduce the incidence of malaria in humans and some other creatures for many years. The important fact is that this would be a multi-nation initiative, cross border spread would be accepted or predictable. Should this tech be used to, ssy, wipe out the whole population of rats on an island where, as an invasive or introduced predator they were endangering other species, there is a possibility the effects may spread to other places in an unpredictable pattern. Though I would guess that 99% of Aussies would welcome it against rabbits and mice!

Also:

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U.S. Academies gives cautious go-ahead to gene drive

Although it may take 5 years or more before researchers will be ready to try a controversial technology for eradicating or replacing populations of pests and vectors in the field, today a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee urged researchers, funding organizations, and regulatory agencies to waste no time in coming up with ways to deal with the societal and regulatory issues surrounding this technology, called gene drive. Its report, Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty and Aligning Research with Public Values, stresses that although gene drive offers great promise for agriculture, conservation, and public health, neither the science nor the current regulatory system is adequate to address the risks and requirements of gene drive–altered organisms.
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/06/us-academies-gives-cautious-go-ahead-gene-drive

Since this seems to be species specific it seems less dangerous than some other mass extermination systems, one step up from the mass sterilisation of males of some disease carrying flies in Africa - but with the potential for a much larger territory to be affected.

Scary or a good idea?
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xSilverPhinx

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Re: Gene drive, a boon or concern?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2017, 10:24:52 PM »
Scary or a good idea?

I think it can be very complex, maybe one of those situations in which hindsight is 20/20.  :shrug:

Once it's done, we'll know for sure.

(I would be a lousy contributor in bioethics meetings).  :tapemouth:
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Recusant

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Re: Gene drive, a boon or concern?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 07:29:29 AM »
Given the fact that humanity is responsible for wiping out species right and left without any thought, taking a more selective approach could be a step in the right direction. I have my doubts whether the cautious methods described in the Science article are going to win the day, though. Thanks for posting that article, Dave!
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