The prospect of utilizing CRISPR-based gene-drive technology for controlling populations, such as invasive and disease-vector species, has generated much excitement. However, the potential for spillovers of gene drive alleles from the target population to non-target populations — events that may be ecologically catastrophic — has raised concerns. Here, using two-population mathematical models, we investigate the possibility of limiting spillovers and impact on non-target populations by designing differential-targeting gene drives, in which the expected equilibrium gene drive allele frequencies are high in the target population but low in the non-target population. We find that achieving differential targeting is possible with certain configurations of gene drive parameters. Most of these configurations ensure differential targeting only under relatively low migration rates between target and non-target populations. Under high migration, differential targeting is possible only in a narrow region of the parameter space. When migration is increased, differential-targeting states can sharply transition to states of global fixation or global loss of the gene drive. Because fixation of the gene drive in the non-target population could severely disrupt ecosystems, we outline possible ways to avoid this outcome. Our results emphasize that, although gene drive technology is promising, understanding the potential consequences for populations other than the targets requires detailed analysis of gene-drive spillovers, and that ways to limit the unintended effects of gene drives to non-target populations should be explored prior to the application of gene drives in natural settings.
- Downloaded 386 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 46,309 out of 100,488
- In evolutionary biology: 3,094 out of 5,999
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 37,831 out of 100,488
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: None out of 100,488
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 20 Oct 2020: Support for sorting preprints using Twitter activity has been removed, at least temporarily, until a new source of social media activity data becomes available.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!