Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, described a new version of gene drive that increases the precision of gene editing and allows the spread of desirable genetic characteristics. The main difference between the emerging allelic drive and current CRISPR technologies is that the first enables editing individual letters of the gene sequence, whilst the second only permit editing genetic information sequences.

This adds to the expanding body of knowledge on gene drive research which is now being published, as a result of several years of research. The authors suggest this discovery could be applied to environmental conservation initiatives, protecting endangered species from extinction or eliminating invasive species. It could also be used to reduce vector-borne diseases transmission, by making mosquitoes more resistant to malaria or less resistant to insecticides.

The full study is available in the journal of Nature Communication. More information can be found at the website of the University of California – San Diego.