The Akbari Lab is the latest group of scientists to join the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research. Based at the University of California - San Diego (UCSD), members of the Akbari Lab are currently researching a range of genetic approaches to help control pests and diseases, such as dengue and malaria.

Gene drive is one of their areas of research, but team members are also investigating other strategies, such as sterile male and other self-limiting approaches, which could suit different situation and needs. Self-limiting approaches could provide useful options to tackle diseases in some contexts, and also offer an important way to implement the “step by step” approach recommended for the development of gene drive organisms.

A new book by Dr. Robert Scheller, Professor of Landscape Ecology at North Carolina State University (NCSU), explores how human activities shape our landscape and the unique effects of these processes. The author also discusses how to address the negative impacts of anthropogenic drivers of landscape change, using landscape trajectories to guide the selection of an appropriate course of action.

Dr. Scheller includes genetic strategies as an essential tool for managing landscapes. He also analyses the risks of inaction caused by the fear of taking action under uncertain circumstances and other barriers to managing landscapes for change, such as culture and financial resources. If you are interested, check out his book Managing Landscapes for Change.

The Gene Drive Research Forum is producing a series of virtual discussions to provide a forum for stakeholders engaged in or working in the field of gene drive technologies. The first webinar “Stakeholder engagement and controversy: Lessons from the ground” will take place on February 9th. The event is co-hosted by the GBIRd partnership and the FNIH GeneConvene Global Collaborative.

Register here!

Scientists from Texas A&M University are developing a new technology for modifying mosquito genes that self-deletes genetic alterations from the insect’s genome after a specific time or a certain number of mosquito generations.

By creating a transgene capable of removing itself, the gene will not persist in the environment, contributing to the safety of field tests and risk assessment of novel tools to control malaria and other vector-borne diseases, says Professor Zack Edelman, one of the principal investigators.

Ana Kormos, Engagement Program Manager, University of California Irvine Malaria Initiative (UCIMI) 

The University of California Irvine describes their approach to engagement in a new publication that is currently available online, ahead of print publication, in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The publication titled Application of the relationship-based model to engagement for field trials of genetically engineered malaria vectors emphasizes the importance of establishing open dialogue, collaboration and relationships of trust with stakeholders and community members where field research is being conducted. The model places these groups at the center of the decision-making processes that drive every phase of research.