Venue: The Flett Theatre, Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD. INFORMATION
Oxford Martin School and Dept of Zoology, Oxford University.
Driving Ambition: Can and Should We Use Gene Drive to Knock Out the Major Mosquito Vectors of Malaria?
There is currently great interest in the possibility of using gene-drive to suppress mosquito vectors of malaria. The idea is to release a small number of mosquitoes carrying a genetic construct which both spreads in the population and causes population decline. The emergence of CRISPR technology has accelerated the development of suitable constructs. I have been involved for 15 years in a gene-drive project led by Austin Burt at Imperial College targeting Anopheles gambiae, the most important malaria vector in Africa. In this talk I’ll explain how gene-drive works, and the current position of the research frontier. I will describe our research which tries to predict how gene-drive will work in real African landscapes, and on-going community ecology studies that seek to explore the consequences of removing a mosquito species from an ecosystem. I’ll finish by exploring the regulatory and ethical issues around an exciting but novel and challenging technology.