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International Regulations Needed For Gene-Editing Systems Used To Alter Disease-Carrying Vectors Such As Mosquitoes

The Guardian: Gene drives need global policing
Matthew Cobb, professor of zoology at the University of Manchester

“…Using [the gene-editing technique known as] CRISPR to combat disease-transmitting mosquitoes could have a massive health benefit for millions of people around the world, and would probably prove less ecologically destructive than our current insecticide-based approaches. … CRISPR gene drives have amazing potential, but raise major questions … We need to have a good ecological understanding of the system we are trying to manipulate, long-term monitoring plans to ensure unforeseen changes can be rapidly detected, and plans for fixing what we have changed if it goes wrong. … [T]he only sustainable and safe way of applying this potentially transformative technology will involve international regulations, based on careful study and continual ecological monitoring, coupled with the rights of local communities to veto such projects if they so desire. This is an urgent task that an accepted international structure such as the United Nations needs to address as soon as possible…” (2/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.