Hello, I'm Stephanie James,
Director of Science at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in the US,
and this presentation describes some important considerations for
the responsible development of new synthetic gene-drive technologies.
These technologies are based on natural systems of
skewed inheritance that have been studied over many decades,
and the idea of putting these systems to work for the public good has long been proposed.
Access to new gene-editing tools seems to be putting this possibility within our reach.
But this increased accessibility of the technology,
has also stirred public debate and controversy.
If gene-drive technology is to be harnessed effectively,
involved researchers, and research sponsors and supporters must pursue
their goals in a safe and responsible manner that will promote public confidence.
Simply put gene-drive is a method to promote
the inheritance of a particular gene or genetic construct, so that
its prevalence increases in the overall population of
the intended target organism, within
a time frame relevant for accomplishing the stated goal.
Gene-drive technology has been proposed for a number
of uses to promote public good and social value.
These include improving public health, conservation, and agriculture.
At the time of this presentation,
research probably is furthest advanced on uses for reducing
the transmission of vector-borne diseases, like malaria and arboviral diseases.