Principles of Synthetic Gene Drive Research


FIGURE 1-4 from NASEM gene drive report

In a recent issue of Science, supporters and sponsors of synthetic gene drive research respond to the National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine 2016 report on the research and development of synthetic gene drives.

.Some of the sponsors and supporters of this research drafted and agreed upon a set of guiding principles which, as the authors of this paper describe, are intended to facilitate progress in this area of research,  encourage transparency and support biosafety standards and requirements.  The hope of the authors is that other supporters and sponsors of synthetic gene drive research will sign onto these guiding principles.

Five principles were agreed upon and the details can be found in the paper. 

Advance quality science to promote public good
Promote stewardship, safety, and good governance
Demonstrate transparency and accountability
Engage thoughtfully with affected communities, stakeholders, and the public
Foster opportunities to strength capacity and education

this figure is DOI:

Currently 13 organizations that have endorsed the principles.  They are:

  1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Trevor Mundel;
  2. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Paul Lasko;
  3. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Jack Steele;
  4. Foundation for the National Institutes of Health(FNIH), Maria Freire;
  5. Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Marco Aurélio Krieger;
  6. Health Research Council of New Zealand, Kathryn McPherson;
  7. Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR), Soumya Swaminathan;
  8. Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm), Yves Lévy;
  9. Institut Pasteur, Christian Bréchot;
  10. National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Anne Kelso;
  11. Open Philanthropy Project, Nick Beckstead and Alexander Berger;
  12. Tata Trusts, R. Venkataramanan;
  13. Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar

Report coverThe sponsors and supporters of synthetic gene drive research and development recognize the enormous potential of these technologies to solve long standing public health problems as well as conservation efforts to preserve and restore biodiversity that has been lost due to invasive species.  Fully exploring the potential of these technologies so that decisions about their future use can be based on a solid foundation of science will require a safe and enabling environment to conduct the needed research.  This represents an important step by interested stakeholders to contribute to those efforts and fostering a culture of responsible innovation.

Additional sponsors and supporters are welcomed and encouraged to become signatories of these principles and can do so here:


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