I want to call readers attention to this rather alarming article from MIT Technology Review (referencing a Science journal article). What’s going on here is that gene editing techniques that weren’t as worrisome a decade ago have become greatly concerning to scientists because they have made such huge advances. Gene altering procedures are becoming simple and quick. These scientists, asking for help, are admitting that the technology has outpaced the safety and want integrated risk management, which for now is missing. The scientists are pleading with regulators to make the world safe from themselves. I am offering the beginning of the article and please click on the link at the bottom to read the rest. —Kay M.
Scientists working at the cutting-edge of genetics say one possible application of a powerful new technology called genome editing has the potential to cause ecological mayhem and needs attention from regulators.
The technique, referred to as a “gene drive,” would cause chosen genes, including man-made ones, to quickly spread through a species as its members reproduce.
While gene drives may have commercial and public health uses, 10 scientists published an editorial in the journal Science calling for more public discussion, and also more scrutiny by regulators.
A news report in Science gives the background:
[A] gene drive involves stimulating biased inheritance of particular genes to alter entire populations of organisms. It was first proposed more than a decade ago, and researchers have been developing gene drive approaches to alter mosquitoes to slow the spread of malaria and dengue fever. Although progress has been quite slow, recent advances in gene editing could lead to a rapid application of gene drive approaches to other species.