Written by Samantha O’Loughlin, Target Malaria

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

Can we know that a gene drive will not cause irreversible harm to our environment? Removing any species from the environment, even locally, may have consequences, so these must be thoroughly considered. Sometimes these consequences will be clearly beneficial. One of the uses proposed for gene drive is to help in the removal of invasive rodents on islands where they are an alien species and have caused many extinctions of native wildlife; another is to reduce the numbers of invasive mosquitoes in Hawaii to save native birds from extinction by mosquito-transmitted diseases. In these cases, removing the species would be beneficial.