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Objective

According to the World Health Organization’s 2017 World Malaria Report, an estimated 216 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide in 2016, with 90% of this total concentrated in the African region. Alarmingly, and despite an increased public health focus on the elimination of malaria, it is becoming clear that many countries will not be able to achieve this goal without considering novel management approaches. One control strategy in the early stages of development is the use of gene drive mechanisms to suppress or replace vector mosquito populations.

Collaborators & Partners

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), and the Government of Australia

Current Work

Mosquito Biology

Understanding vector biology is an important component of any disease management strategy and will be essential for assessing potential environmental risks that may be associated with the deployment of genetically engineered mosquitos. To that end, the ILSI Research Foundation and representatives from the governments of Brazil and Mexico served as convening lead authors of the OECD’s first biology document for an insect speciesAedes aeqypti, which was published in 2018. With the success of this first effort, a second mosquito biology document, describing Anopheles gambiae, is now underway. First proposed to the OECD by the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the ILSI Research Foundation was very pleased to be asked to co-lead the drafting group with NEPAD and the Government of Australia. With funding from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the ILSI Research Foundation partnered with the OECD to convene a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 14-15, 2019 that brought Anopheles experts together to advance the biology document.

Consultations on Problem Formulation for ERA of Gene Drive Mosquitoes

Between October 2016 and February 2018, NEPAD organized four regional consultations on the potential use of gene drives to combat malaria transmission through vector suppression. At the request of NEPAD, the ILSI Research Foundation assisted in setting the agenda for the scientific programs and guided participants through a problem formulation exercise to inform future work on risk assessment. These consultations served as an introduction to the basic principles of environmental risk assessment, as well as provided a critical opportunity to hear from regional risk assessors and stakeholders regarding potential risks that may be associated with deploying gene drive technology for this purpose. Together with NEPAD and FNIH, the ILSI Research Foundation is summarizing the outcomes of the four regional consultations in a manuscript that will be submitted for publication in 2019.

Resources

Gene Drive Modeling Conference

Washington, D.C., USA

With support from the USDA NIFA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, the ILSI Research Foundation is organizing this conference to bring together regulators, risk assessors, modelers, and biologists who understand gene drive technology to discuss the applicability of mathematical models for the environmental risk assessment of gene drive organisms.

Read more

Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species

Tarragona, Spain

Sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, this workshop highlighted different approaches to the control of invasive species that make use of transgenic organisms engineered for introduction into a target population in order to reduce or eliminate it.

Read more

Kick-off Meeting of the Ad-hoc Expert Group for Developing the OECD Consensus Document on the Biology of Mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As a first step in drafting an OECD Consensus Document on the Biology of Mosquito Anopheles gambiae, the ILSI Research Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (NEPAD-ABNE), hosted a meeting of Anopheles gambiae mosquito biology experts.

Read more

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							Overview		
							Registration		
				Overview
							

Gene drive technology refers to any of a set of similar mechanisms that can be engineered to drive inheritance of an allele through a population through higher transmission from parents to offspring than predicted by Mendelian inheritance. The potential applications of this technology in agriculture are many and include uses for pest, disease, and weed control. Because field-testing of gene drives in the environment is problematic, mathematical modeling of gene drives will be important in understanding their potential environmental impacts. The ILSI Research Foundation organized the Gene Drive Modeling Conference to bring together regulators, risk assessors, modelers, and biologists who understand gene drive technology to discuss the applicability of models for the environmental risk assessment of gene drive organisms, as well as to identify criteria for establishing the quality of information that will be needed to inform future risk assessments of gene drives.

The conference is made possible through a grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, which provides funding to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the environment. Therefore, registration is only open to employees of Federal regulatory agencies or by invitation from the ILSI Research Foundation.

Registration

Please fill out the form below to register for the ILSI Research Foundation's Gene Drive Modeling Conference. The conference is made possible through a grant from the USDA NIFA BRAG Program, so registration is only open to employees of Federal regulatory agencies or by invitation from the ILSI Research Foundation. Space is limited and will be allotted on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Check the box below to receive a monthly email newsletter containing the latest information about our activities, as well as occasional news releases regarding upcoming events and important announcements.
  • We will be sending event information and updates via email. By registering below, you are consenting to receiving these electronic communications. Please add rf@ilsi.org to your email provider's safe senders list.

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Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series

AlunLloyd_s

Dr. Alun Lloyd

Department of Mathematics
North Carolina State University

Mathematical models are a widely-used tool to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of gene drives and other related biocontrol approaches. As part of the ILSI Research Foundation's Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series, this presentation by Dr. Alun Lloyd will cover modeling work that has been carried out for several novel strategies, illustrating the use of a number of different models as the projects move along the path from theoretical proposals, through lab-based studies, to field deployment. Of particular note is the role of both simple and more complicated mathematical models at various stages of this process. Dr. Lloyd will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches, together with methods that can be used to quantify uncertainty in model predictions that result from uncertainty in model parameters.

The online seminar is by invitation only.

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Invasive species can pose a threat to the environment, agriculture, or human health. Most governmental approaches to control the spread of invasive species are focused on preventing new introductions. However, efforts to address the control of invasive species once they have become established have met with limited success. Genetic biocontrol of invasive species may offer a new opportunity to go beyond prevention and begin to reduce or eliminate invasive species through genetic strategies. This workshop highlighted different approaches to the control of invasive species that make use of transgenic and nontransgenic organisms designed for introduction into a target population in order to reduce or eliminate it. The presentations given on these various approaches compared them with respect to efficacy, biosafety, practicality, cost, and time frame for implementation.

This workshop was sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme: Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, whose financial support made it possible for some of the invited speakers to participate in the workshop. 

 

Agenda

There will be a five minute period included at the end of each 30 minute presentation that will be used for questions and answers.

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Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series

SumitDhole_s

Dr. Sumit Dhole

Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Understanding how gene drives would behave in natural populations is critical if this tool is ever to be used for the variety of applications that it can potentially serve. However, a multitude of factors currently preclude gene drive experiments in natural populations. Mathematical models can prove useful in elucidating the expected behavior of gene drives in response to a number of biological factors and can also reveal patterns of gene drive spread that are too complex to be intuitively predicted. The assumptions and details of a mathematical model influence the applicability of the results to natural populations, similar to the role that experimental conditions play for laboratory experiments. Part of the ILSI Research Foundation’s Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series, this presentation by Dr. Sumit Dhole focused on how simple mathematical models can be used to study expected gene drive behavior, and how biological details can be added to simple models to address the effects of factors like migration and population-density dependence. A particular gene drive, called Engineered Underdominance, which has potential for spatially restricted population alteration served as a case study.

The online seminar was by invitation only.

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Gene drive technology refers to any of a set of similar mechanisms that can be engineered to drive inheritance of an allele through a population through higher transmission from parents to offspring than predicted by Mendelian inheritance. The potential applications of this technology in agriculture are many and include uses for pest, disease, and weed control. Because field-testing of gene drives in the environment is problematic, mathematical modeling of gene drives will be important in understanding their potential environmental impacts. The ILSI Research Foundation organized the Gene Drive Modeling Conference to bring together regulators, risk assessors, modelers, and biologists who understand gene drive technology to discuss the applicability of models for the environmental risk assessment of gene drive organisms, as well as to identify criteria for establishing the quality of information that will be needed to inform future risk assessments of gene drives.

The conference is made possible through a grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, which provides funding to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the environment. Therefore, registration is only open to employees of Federal regulatory agencies or by invitation from the ILSI Research Foundation.

Registration

Please fill out the form below to register for the ILSI Research Foundation's Gene Drive Modeling Conference. The conference is made possible through a grant from the USDA NIFA BRAG Program, so registration is only open to employees of Federal regulatory agencies or by invitation from the ILSI Research Foundation. Space is limited and will be allotted on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Check the box below to receive a monthly email newsletter containing the latest information about our activities, as well as occasional news releases regarding upcoming events and important announcements.
  • We will be sending event information and updates via email. By registering below, you are consenting to receiving these electronic communications. Please add rf@ilsi.org to your email provider's safe senders list.

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OECD Consensus Document of the Biology of Mosquito Aedes aegypti

Volume 8 of the series Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms in the Environment contains the first OECD biosafety consensus document to deal with the biology of an insect, the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Read more

Results from the Workshop “Problem Formulation for the Use of Gene Drive in Mosquitoes”

Reducing the incidence of malaria has been a public health priority for nearly a century. However, before new technologies and associated vector control strategies  can be developed and exploited, it will be necessary to understand and assess the likelihood of any potential harms to humans or the environment. To begin this process, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the ILSI Research Foundation organized an expert workshop to consider the potential risks related to the use of gene drives in Anopheles gambiae for malaria control in Africa.

Read more

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                    [post_title] => Results from the Workshop “Problem Formulation for the Use of Gene Drive in Mosquitoes”
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