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Gene Drive Modified to Run Allelic Errands

April 10, 2019 / GEN

A new gene drive system introduces gears well suited to the transmission of relatively slight genetic variants, that is, allelic variants involving only one or a few base pairs. Typical gene drive systems are configured to copy relatively large DNA cargo sequences. The new gene drive system—or allelic drive system—favors or disfavors selected alleles and promises to accelerate the assembly of complex genotypes, which may consist of “point-mutant alleles in combination with insertional transgenes for a multitude or research and applied purposes,” said its creators. The allelic drive comes from the laboratory of Ethan Bier, PhD, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). According to Bier and colleagues, the allelic drive is equipped with a guide RNA (gRNA) that directs the CRISPR system to cut undesired variants of a gene and replace it with a preferred version of the gene. The new drive extends scientists&rsqu...