Anti Drive


“Anti-CRISPR and novel strategies for gene drive remediation”


C. Taxiarchi, G. Immobile


The rapidly developing gene drive technology is a promising and potentially powerful method for controlling insect pests, including mosquito vectors of disease. Methods to control or counteract gene drives in these insects can constitute important strategies for risk management and mitigation, yet they are currently of limited availability. The opportunity to safeguard or even revert their impact on mosquito populations if needed, is likely to also accelerate the regulatory approval as well as the public acceptance of gene drive products.​​

Expanding on accomplishments of the previous Safe Genes project funded by DARPA, Polo GGB has been awarded the grant “Anti-CRISPR and novel strategies for gene drive remediation” by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with the goal of developing and testing a range of strategies for limiting and reversing gene drives in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae.​​

A leading genetic engineering group in Polo GGB will utilise innovative genetic approaches including anti-CRISPR system, previously validated in mosquitoes, for the generation of predictable and controlled gene drive countermeasures. Designed to either contain the spread of all CRISPR-based gene drives or selectively a specific gene drive transgene, these systems will be assessed via mathematical modelling and mosquito population studies in the cutting-edge entomological facilities of Polo GGB, in Terni. This will provide a portfolio of working anti-drive alternatives in anophelines, expanding the toolbox for gene drive remediation, and complementing the development of efficient gene drives for the control of the human malaria mosquitoes.




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