Gene-drives and active genetics: introduction to gene-drives and their implications for health and society

Published on July 31, 2017   31 min

Other Talks in the Series: Topical Talks

0:00
Hello. My name is Ethan Bier. I'm at the University of California, San Diego, and it's my pleasure to introduce the "Gene-drives and Active genetics", Henry Stewart Talks series presentations. The topic is a very current one with a lot of interest in terms of, not only the technology types of people, but also people who are interested in the impact of technology on society, and so today, I'm going to tell you about the gene-drives, they're implications for health and society, and outline, sort of the goals, of this talk series.
0:39
The topic, again in the broader sense, is gene drives, and gene drives have been around for a very long time. In fact, many ecologists and evolutionary biologists are of the opinion that gene drives take place in species all the time as a constant battle between one type of trait versus another. This so-called selfish gene hypothesis, for example, being one of them. But the idea of using gene drives as a technology really began with Chris Curtis in the 60s, and then was very well articulated by Austin Burt beginning in the 2000's, and the essence of it is very simple, which is that a gene drive is a genetic element or a genetic arrangement, and even in some cases, the addition of an entire life form, like a bacterium, that biases inheritance so that instead of the standard situation where you have one copy of a chromosome that you've inherited from mom, one copy that you've inherited from dad, and you have a 50% chance of giving either to your progeny, instead of that, you give a higher percent of one to your progeny than the other, and that's called gene drive; And the idea was that if you could take a trait that is of value and hook it up to a system that had that gene drive property, then you could help introduce that trait into a population because all of the offspring of the organisms that carried the trait you desired would have more than their share of offspring, and that would lead to, eventually, the trait spreading by logistic growth to the entire population. And so, that's been an idea that's been kicking around again for a very long time, and I'm just going to give you a little example of it that came from my own lab, coming at it from a particular direction, and it also introduces the, sort of, one of the modern-drive approaches. There are still many other alternatives as well, but that is based on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
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Gene-drives and active genetics: introduction to gene-drives and their implications for health and society

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