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Health Security Releases Special Feature on US Gene Drive Governance

Center News


February 24, 2022 – The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security announces the publication of a special feature on US gene drive and related emerging biotechnology regulation in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security.

In recent years, emerging biotechnologies, such as gene drives and genetically self-limiting sterile insects, have been transitioning from theoretical possibilities to application-ready products. These biotechnologies have profound implications for vectorborne disease control, offering the potential to manage pest populations as well as induce enduring genetic changes and corresponding biological properties in wild populations. However, the current US Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology does not fully address gene drives, whose properties differ from more traditional genetically modified organisms. This new special feature contributes to filling the gaps, by examining ongoing and future oversight of these technology-based products in the United States.

The papers in the Health Security special feature each explore aspects of governance, highlighting various approaches that could be used to develop governance programs, frameworks, policies, and classification systems as well as guide future research on gene drives and similar products in the United States.

“As research and investment in gene drives advances, it will be important to have governance frameworks in place before these biotechnologies are widely used,” write Kelsey Lane Warmbrod, Michael Montague, and Gigi Kwik Gronvall in the special feature’s introduction. “This special feature was developed to highlight considerations that should be made and propose several options for developing governance for gene drives in the United States.”

The guest editors of this special feature were Kelsey Lane Warmbrod, Gigi Kwik Gronvall, and Michael Montague from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Read the new issue.