Expert Reaction to the successful development of gene drives in mice

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Prof Bruce Whitelaw, Professor of Animal Biotechnology, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, said:

“Gene drives court controversy but present an elegant genetic approach to accelerate genetic change within a given population. This paper demonstrates, what was already assumed likely, that gene drives can work in mammals. The authors test a series of transgene combinations, mostly with mouse lines that were already available to the research community, to determine the efficiency of homology driven recombination (called HDR) within different cells of the animal. They conclude that only in the female germline does HDR function more effectively than the alternative recombination process NHEJ (non-homologous end joining). The paper is therefore important as it both demonstrates mammalian gene drive for the first time and starts to clarify the aspects and limitations of the process in mammals. The authors correctly state how this approach could make huge positive 3Rs impact for laboratory animal use while pointing the way to the still far off but feasible application in wild animals.”

Period23 Jan 2019

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleScience Media Centre
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    PersonsBruce Whitelaw