By Dr Robyn Raban, Research Data Analyst, The Akbari Lab, University of California San Diego

As part of its efforts to contribute to an informed debate on gene drive, the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research conducted a series of video interviews with experts and researchers working on gene drive research. In one of these videos - “Why do we need to do field releases of gene drive technologies as part of the R&D process?” - Dr Mamadou Coulibaly of Target Malaria and I tackle the importance of field trials in gene drive research.

Gene drive technologies have the potential to support the prevention of diseases such as malaria and dengue. For many years, gene drive technologies for vector control have been studied in the laboratory. However, these laboratory studies are not fully reflective of the conditions these technologies might eventually encounter in the field: field conditions are complex, highly variable and more stressful to gene drive organisms than those encountered in the laboratory.