Gene drive occurs when particular genetic elements (genes, gene complexes, or large chromosomal regions) are transmitted to viable, fertile progeny at rates greater than those of competing allelic variants or other parts of the genome. It can be used, in principle, to spread user-defined traits through wild populations (population modification) or bring about population suppression or extinction.
This lecture will discuss a novel family of selfish genetic elements which recently developed and can be used to bring about gene drive in diverse species. It will also briefly discuss a method of using Cleave and Rescue (ClvR) to bring about conditional population suppression or elimination.
The tools used to build ClvR elements are very simple and available in any organism in which transgenesis can be accomplished, suggesting it as a general tool for altering populations of diverse species.
In this lecture, Dr. Hay will discuss how ClvR elements are easy to generate and can spread under a variety of conditions. Moreover, it is possible to carry out cycles of population modification, in which an old element is eliminated from a population at the expense of a new one, thereby providing an important point of control over the process.