Studies focusing on the use of gene drive mosquitoes to control vector-borne diseases are setting the pace for genetic research in other fields such as schistosomiasis vector control. A recent paper published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases explores the perspectives from practitioners of global health, genome engineering, epidemiology, and snail/schistosome biology about the use of gene drive to control schistosomiasis. It also outlines strategies for responsible gene drive technology development in this field.

Scientists, decision makers and other stakeholders will need to balance the risks and benefits before testing and deploying gene drive-modified mosquitoes, as they would do with any other novel tool. In a recent paper published at the journal Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, researchers discuss the standards for judging whether an investigational gene drive product is ready for field trials. The report summarizes the outcomes of two workshops organized in 2019, aiming to identify efficacy and safety characteristics that must be minimally met before moving to the field testing stage.

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative launched a series of quizzes, crafts, puzzles, games and other activities to raise awareness about the negative impact of invasive alien species on biodiversity. The educational resources are aimed at primary school students, offering numerous indoors and outdoors activities. Have fun with your family, friends or students and even earn an “Alien Detectives Certificate”.

Invasive species are the second greatest cause of plant and animal species loss globally. One of the potential application of gene drive is to help protect biodiversity by reducing populations of invasive species on islands.

It is becoming more and more widely acknowledged that if proposed gene drive applications to control malaria (currently among the most advanced gene drive technologies being researched) prove successful, the use of gene drives will not stop there. A new report by a team of experts based out of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University has sought to lay out recommendations for the safe and responsible governance of gene drives once they have become a normalized tool in the field of public health and beyond.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced that the registration for the 138th Plenary Meeting of the Genetically Modified Organisms Panel is now open until June 24. The meeting will be open to observers and take place on July 1-2 online. More information is available on the EFSA’s website.

The agenda includes the outcomes of the public consultation about the adequacy of existing guidelines on risk assessment to enable appropriate evaluations of gene drive mosquitoes. With the consultation, EFSA aimed to assess whether its current guidelines are adequate for the molecular characterization and environmental risk assessment of genetically modified insects with synthetically engineered gene drives.