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Gene Drive Control Worry Eased by Genetic Neutralizing Elements

Reducing the burden of mosquito-borne infectious diseases is the goal of many researchers. Strategies such as the distribution of mosquito nets and repellents have had some success, while many are innovating new ways to suppress the mosquito population in an effort to quell the spread of disease. A relatively new method has developed CRISPR-Cas9-based tools that control the balance of genetic inheritance. These gene drives possess the inherent capacity to spread progressively throughout target populations, a trait that has some worried about their ability to be controlled once distributed in the wild. Now, the same team that designs these gene drives has designed two self-copying (or active) guide RNA-only genetic elements that act as a mechanism of control.

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