Written by Samantha O’Loughlin, Target Malaria

(This is the five of a series of six posts about common gene drive misconceptions)

In my work as a population genetics expert for Target Malaria, more often than not I am asked about the possibility of misusing gene drive technology, and especially if it could be leveraged for bioterrorism.

Gene drive systems are not like an infection; they work in a very targeted way and can only spread to offspring through mating. This means that gene drives can only be used in plants and animals, not bacteria or viruses. In addition, gene drive would have a very slow impact on an organism with a long generation time, such as humans.