Technology could be used to unleash the world

The next generation of genetically engineered life will more than likely possess a novel trait known as “gene drive” that literally spreads gene alterations like a virus within the host population, whether it is a plant or an animal. Many scientists are starting to worry that if it is placed into the wrong hands, the self-replicating technology could eventually turn GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) into covert bio-weapons for destroying food crops, livestock and even humans.

Gene drive is the scientific community’s latest attempt to domesticate Mother Nature and eliminate undesirable issues such as mosquito-borne illnesses — or at least that’s what we’re being told. The Independent (U.K.) says that gene drive technology has the potential to “address global problems in health,” but it also warns that gene drive has the potential to worsen global problems in health, not to mention contaminate the entire food chain with irreversible GM traits.

In a letter in the peer-reviewed journal Science, a cohort of 27 leading geneticists has urged the scientific community to take a step back and consider the ways in which gene drive technology poses serious risks to human health and the environment. In essence, the technology gives genetic butchers the ability to ignite a chain reaction of genetic changes that can’t be stopped, effectively transforming an entire population of life within just a few generations.

“Just as gene drives can make mosquitos unfit for hosting and spreading the malaria parasite, they could conceivably be designed with gene drives carrying cargo for delivering lethal bacterial toxins to humans,” warns David Gurwitz, a geneticist from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Gene drive technology artificially speeds up the spread rate of GM traits

Under normal circumstances, altered genes only have about a 50 percent chance of being passed on to future generations. A visual diagram published by The Independent illustrates this, showing how even over the course of several generations of exposure, genetically altered mosquitoes only pass their traits on to a small percentage of their offspring, preserving wild-type features within its population to some degree.