Gene drive systems in mosquitoes: rules of the road.
Population replacement strategies for controlling transmission of mosquito-borne diseases call for the introgression of antipathogen effector genes into vector populations. It is anticipated that these genes, if present at high enough frequencies, will impede transmission of the target pathogens and result in reduced human morbidity and mortality. Recent laboratory successes in the development of virus- and protozoan-resistant mosquito strains make urgent research of gene drive systems capable of moving effector genes into wild populations. A systematic approach to developing safe and effective gene drive systems that includes defining the requirements of the system, identifying naturally occurring or synthetic genetic mechanisms for gene spread upon which drive systems can be based and the successful adaptation of a mechanism to a drive system, should mitigate concerns about using genetically engineered mosquitoes for disease control.