A horizon scanning survey (Preliminary publication Nov. 2023)
Summary of findings:
Screening and analysis of the scientific literature for gene drive development in non-insect targets up to 31 Dec 2022, showed:
- There are 43 current or proposed non-insect targets.
- Proposals span a wide range of species and taxonomic groups: from mammals and fish to snails, arachnids, fungi and plants (see Table 1).
- In the vast majority of cases the aim is to suppress or eradicate the target.
- Compared to gene drive systems in insects, the systems in other taxonomic groups are further away from potential releases into the environment.
- A significant amount of research has focussed on developing gene drives in mice, so far with limited success, though efforts are ongoing.
- Development of gene drives in mice is seen by many as a pathway to applying the technology in other mammals.
- There appear to be significant obstacles in applying homing CRISPR gene drive technology in new species and taxonomic groups.
Please see document for findings and the main tables (pp.6-28) for details of findings and stages of development
- The vast majority of the targets identified in the literature are single species, however some early stage proposals relate to broader taxonomic groups, the Cervid family (entry 11), the Tetranycahidae (19), snail genera hosting schistosome parasites (21.1 -21.3), the Schistosoma genus (23) and the Myrtaceae family (31).