Gene Drive Applications
to Agriculture in Texas
Learn More about Gene Drive
What is Gene Drive?
Gene drive is a new genetic-based tool that can be used to ensure that a selected trait is passed down from the gene drive-containing pest to most or all of its offspring, regardless of the trait carried by the other parent. Subsequently, the gene drive-containing offspring that mate with non-gene drive pests would also pass down the selected trait to their offspring and effectively spread the trait throughout a population. Because a gene drive spreads throughout a population on its own, it might be designed to affect a variety of traits to change a pest so that it inflicts less damage onto agricultural crops or livestock. Gene drive may offer new ways to manage agricultural pests that are becoming increasingly difficult to manage due to shortcomings of current pest management practices. Gene drive technology is at the beginning stages of research and has not yet been used. Thus, much is unknown about its potential outcomes. It is important that the potential outcomes of using gene drive are identified, evaluated, and carefully considered in any decisions made about this new technology.
Why Should People Care?
The success of agricultural productivity in the United States is essential to U.S. and international markets. Various pest species and harmful weeds jeopardize U.S. agriculture. Many pest species have developed resistance to conventional pest management strategies while others are developing this resistance. Some agricultural and natural science researchers are beginning to explore whether gene drive technology can be used to help manage certain pest species that cause critical losses in agricultural yields. In turn, this generates massive economic losses for producers and increased costs for consumers.
Additional Gene Drive Resources
In the media:
- The New York Times: The Gene Drive Dilemma: We can Alter Entire Species, but Should We?
Zach Adelman and Elizabeth Heitman are quoted in this article
In scientific journals:
- BMC Proceedings: Gene drives in our future: challenges of and opportunities for using a self-sustaining technology in pest and vector management
- Science News: In lab tests, this gene drive wiped out a population of mosquitoes
- Pest Management Science: Gene Drive Systems: do they have a place in agricultural weed management?
In governance resources:
- NAS: Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values
- FDA: Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan
- USDA: the SECURE Rule (Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, responsible, Efficient)
- EPA: Regulation of Biotechnology for Use in Pest Management