Gene drive organisms (GDOs), developed with select traits that are genetically engineered to spread through a population, could dramatically alter the way society develops solutions to a range of daunting health and environmental challenges, from controlling dengue fever and malaria to protecting crops against plant pests.
Before these GDO’s move from the lab to testing in the field, scientists are proposing a course for responsible testing of this powerful technology. A group of gene drive organism developers, ecologists, and conservation biologists joined experts in social science, ethics, and policy to outline several commitments they deem “critical for responsible conduct of a field trial and to ensure that these technologies serve the public interest.”
“This will be an influential piece for the field given the number and diversity of co-authors and will help set a course toward open and transparent research,” said co-author Cinnamon Bloss. Gene drive research has progressed so rapidly to the point where it is necessary to take a step back and think about the applications of it and how it can impact humanity.