Gene Drives and Selfish Genetic Elements
Scientific Organizers: David A. O'Brochta, Fred Gould, Amanda Larracuente and Owain Edwards
Date: January 23 - 26, 2022
Location: Granlibakken Tahoe, Tahoe City, CA, USA
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Studying the evolution and molecular biology of natural selfish genetic elements has inspired the development of powerful synthetic selfish genetic elements or “gene drives.” These gene drives might be used as tools to genetically manipulate natural populations of agricultural- and medically-significant pests, and invasive species, providing potential solutions to challenging and important public health, food security and conservation problems. Whereas natural selfish genetic elements were originally the primary genetic platforms for the creation of these transgenic technologies, synthetic biology approaches now dominate. With this growing dominance is the growing risk of a disconnect between synthetic biologists and scientists studying natural selfish genetic elements, which are important in guiding improvements in synthetic drives and decreasing uncertainties about how they might perform in nature. This meeting will reestablish strong connections between these two groups of scientists, with the goals of: (1) fostering exchange of ideas between geneticists and ‘genetic engineers’ around the function and behavior of gene drive systems; (2) stimulating research initiatives, collaborations and synergies that will lead to new/better science and innovative technologies for the public good; and (3) providing networking opportunities for junior and senior researchers. This meeting is an important research and career development opportunity for basic scientists working on natural drive systems and applied scientists working to develop area-wide genetic bio-control tools for invasive species, crop pests, and insect vectors of disease.
Registration for this meeting is not open yet, it will open later in 2021