A couple years ago, a biologist at Harvard named Kevin Esvelt wondered what would happen if you made it so that CRISPR inserted not only your new gene but also the machinery that does the cutting and pasting. In other words, what if CRISPR also copied and pasted itself. You’d end up with a perpetual motion machine for gene editing. And that’s exactly what happened. This CRISPR gene drive that Esvelt created not only guarantees that a trait will get passed on, but if it’s used in the germline cells, it will automatically copy and paste your new gene into both chromosomes of every single individual. It’s like a global search and replace, or in science terms, it makes a heterozygous trait homozygous….
CRISPR-based gene drive will spread the change relentlessly until it is in every single individual in the population….
Gene drives are so effective that even an accidental release could change an entire species, and often very quickly…
We now have the ability to change entire species at will.