Gene Drives. Ethical considerations on the use of gene drives in the environment

A gene drive is a biological mechanism that accelerates the transmission of genes in organisms that reproduce sexually. Generally speaking, gene variants (alleles) have a 0.5 probability of being passed on to the next generation. Gene drives result in certain gene variants being passed on with a much higher inheritance rate than under Mendel's laws of inheritance.

ECNH (2020) Gene Drives
Image: EKAH / CENH

The following short report by the ECNH provides an ethical assessment of genetically engineered or synthetic gene drives, i.e. an ethical assessment of the procedures and associated interventions on living beings as well as the consequences of gene drive applications in the environment. The report ties in with a number of previous ECNH publications and in particular, as re- gards applications in the environment, with the committee's fundamental con- siderations on the requirements for the regulation of new technologies in the environmental field, as set out in its May 2018 report ‘Precaution in the environmental field’.


  • Gene Drive
  • Gene technology
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Genome editing
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