Modelling gene drives

10 Jul 2018, 10:30
New Law School/--100 (University of Sydney)

New Law School/--100

University of Sydney



Modelling gene drives

  • Alun Lloyd (North Carolina State University)
  • Joshua Ross (The University of Adelaide)


Gene Drives are mechanisms which involve biased inheritance of a particular gene can be used to spread a desirable trait through a population. They have been proposed as a means to combat a number of diseases and pest species. However, this technology is not without controversy: beyond general concerns about the development of genetically engineered organisms (particularly GM animals), there are important issues relating to accidental release and unintended spread of gene-drive bearing individuals, as well as unintended ecological and evolutionary consequences of releases.
Mathematical modelling can be used at various stages of the development of gene drives, including testing whether a proposed construct will be able to spread in a population, estimation of invasion/containment probabilities, and consideration of potential gene drive reversal strategies. This is particularly timely due to recent advances in molecular biology (such as the CRISPR/Cas9 system) that have aided the design and development of gene drives in an ever widening range of organisms.
In this minisymposium, we will explore how modelling is intricately involved in the development of gene drive technologies and consideration of its downstream consequences, both positive and negative, in a number of contexts, including mosquito-borne diseases and control of invasive rodent species.

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