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CRISPR ‘gene drives’ to destroy entire populations

I’ve previously posted articles around the CRISPR gene editing method. This is a (relatively) simple way to edit genes, and there’s a huge groundswell of research and emerging applications.

In this case, researchers are looking to use CRISPR to destroy entire populations of invasive / non-native species (rats / mice). There was earlier talk of using it to destroy mosquito populations in an effort to avoid mosquito-related diseases. In other applications, it’s used to modify organisms (think bacteria for now) to consume or produce specific substances, or to treat genetic diseases.

CRISPR (and genetic editing more generally) is truly exciting and terrifying at the same time. It’s here in early stages and is moving very very fast.

**September 2018 Update**

Work continues on gene drive technology, and early trials have demonstrated effectiveness. The method will be scaled up and further tested before, likely, being approved for use in the wild.


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