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A mosquito family tree

Some days ago, I came across an interesting virtual conference (HT @Sarah_A_Hartley) about gene editing which includes a session on ‘societal narratives’. I have written quite a bit about societal narratives of gene editing, but more recently I became involved in the issue of ‘gene drive’, that is, “a system of biased inheritance in which the ability of a genetic element to pass from a parent to its offspring through sexual reproduction is enhanced”. This is a naturally occurring twist in the laws of inheritance that scientists can use (with the help of gene editing) “to develop [artificial] gene-drive modified organisms for public health, conservation, agriculture, and other societal purposes, for example, by suppressing populations of mosquito species that transmit human diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, and chikungunya among others” (Gene drives on the horizon, 2016).

I suddenly asked myself: Are there any societal narratives emerging around gene drives? Cloninghas societal narratives, recombinant DNA has societal narratives, genetic engineering has societal narratives (I can’t wait for @matthewcobb’s book about this), genomics has societal narratives, genetic... see more