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The authors of the interdisciplinary Gene Drive Report (2019) were holding webinars on social, technological & scientific, environmental, ethical and legal questions of this new technique in June 2020 – for free.
Scientists are now developing ways to genetically modify entire populations of animals or plants at once. The DNA of wild plants or animals can be changed in such a way that the change is transmitted to all offspring at once. This technology is called ‘gene drives’. This way, scientists hope, for instance, to protect a population of animals that are vulnerable to a disease from getting it; or to stop a population of plants from becoming resistant to a weed killer (herbicide). The DNA change may also cause death: e.g. disease-carrying insects, invasive animals or plants may be killed with a gene drive.
This technology is without doubt the most controversial offshoot of genetic modification. Does it really work? Is it being applied? What problems do gene drives address? What side effects can they have? Who has an interest in this? Should we do it? Are gene drives regulated by law? Are they a wise solution to these problems? Who decides?
A series of five webinars was held in May and June 2020 for a lay audience about gene drives, to show what is known about each of these questions. The speakers have jointly written a scientific report about all these aspects. No foreknowledge was expected of participants.
The web-inars were jointly organised by four organisations of independent scientists: the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS), Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (VDW), Sciences Citoyennes (SC). Check About us for more infos.