Altering an organism almost always reduces its ability to survive and reproduce in the ancestral habitat, thus engineered traits seldom if ever spread in the wild. Genedrives make use of Crispr technology and override the mendelian laws of inheritance and by this enable synthetic gene drives to alter wild populations. A single released organism could eventually alter the entire population.The gene drive technology has been developed and proved feasible. Currently, its undergoing more tests and scientists develop ways on how to make this technology secure.
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Eradicate vector-borne and parasitic diseases
Technology in detail
- Reversibility: An organism's genome that was edited with a gene drive can be reversed or blocked by another gene drive. So if something undesired happened, one can undo the harm. However, the CRISPR system stays in the organisms (and can be used to detect changes done by gene drives).
- Population suppression: the genedrive could be used to harmfully change or bias populations towards one sex, however suppression drive systems are more difficult to build.
- Complex alterations:
- Sensitize: Make a population uniquely vulnerable to an otherwise harmless compound, for instance 'instruct' parasites of corn to feel harmed by eating corn.
- Speciate: split a population into reproductively incompatible groups
- Recode: make a population uniquely susceptible to a future gene drive, for instance create a marker for a gene drive in the first round, and then later on insert another gene drive that only attaches to the organisms that hold the marker. With this, you can create additional safety measures since the spread of gene drives becomes controllable.
Bacteria, viruses, and other asexual organisms can’t be affected, since there is no mix of the gene pools which is required
Only fast-reproducing organisms make sense, since releasing 1 drive organism per 10,000 wild-type organisms, it takes at least 16 generations minimum for a gene to be present in >99% of the population
- It is difficult to adapt this technology to different organisms
One must be able to make transgenic organisms with Cas9