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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 organized 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

Informing Risk Assessment with the Mosquito Gene Drive Explorer (MGDrivE)

Washington, D.C., USA

As part of the ILSI Research Foundation’s Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series, this presentation by Dr. John Marshall and Ms. Valeri Vasquez introduced the Mosquito Gene Drive Explorer framework, including assumptions, uncertainties, and planned modifications for agricultural pests.

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

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							Overview		
							Agenda		
							Webinar Series: Videos		
							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 was made possible through a grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program for the purpose of fostering a discussion between U.S. regulatory agencies and scientists in the field of modeling for gene drive research. 

Participants at the Gene Drive Modeling Conference (June 11, 2019)

Agenda

Webinar Series: Videos

The Gene Drive Modeling Conference was preceded by a series of invitation-only webinars, for which recordings are available below.


Registration

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Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series

valeri_vasquez_square

Ms. Valeri Vasquez

Berkeley Institute for Data Science
University of California, Berkeley

The advent of CRISPR/Cas9-based gene-editing and its demonstrated ability to streamline the development of gene drive systems has reignited interest in the application of this technology to disease-transmitting mosquitoes and insect agricultural pests. The versatility of the technology has also enabled a wide range of gene drive architectures to be realized, creating a need for their population-level and spatial dynamics to be explored using mathematical models. The Mosquito Gene Drive Explorer (MGDrivE) is a simulation framework designed to investigate the population dynamics of a variety of gene drive systems as they spread through spatially-explicit insect populations. While MGDrivE was primarily designed for application to the mosquito vectors of malaria and arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, its modularity means that, with a few small changes, it could be applied to insect pests of agricultural significance, such as the medfly, spotted wing drosophila, or the Asian citrus psyllid vector of Citrus Huanglongbing. As part of the Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series, this online presentation focused on the modules of the MGDrivE framework, including assumptions, uncertainties, and planned modifications for agricultural pests. The presenters demonstrated the tool's application in a few toy scenarios and discussed relevance to important risk assessment questions in the agricultural space.

The online seminar was by invitation only. A recorded webcast may be viewed below (or at this link).

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Organized by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)
Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Staff_Mclean_updated

Dr. Morven McLean

Executive Director
ILSI Research Foundation

The ILSI Research Foundation is a non-profit, scientific organization engaged in applied research, technical capacity building, and outreach on topics that cut across agriculture, environment, and nutrition. Our commitment to interdisciplinary science has opened up opportunities for the organization to extend its work, sometimes in unexpected ways. During this event, Dr. Morven McLean, Executive Director, shared some examples, including how the ILSI Research Foundation's conceptual work in environmental risk assessment of genetically engineered plants ended up being used to help frame discussions about the potential release of gene drive mosquitoes for malaria control in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Morven McLean is the Executive Director of the ILSI Research Foundation, where she provides strategic direction, and management of, the ILSI Research Foundation's investigator-initiated research programs and its extensive portfolio of education and training activities in the fields of nutrition, food safety, sustainable agriculture, and human and environmental risk assessment.

Download the Presentation [post_title] => Making Connections: Interdisciplinary Science to Solve Real World Problems [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ufifas-1 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-31 20:48:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-31 20:48:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsirf.org/?post_type=event&p=10869 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => event [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10773 [post_author] => 65 [post_date] => 2019-04-16 18:05:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-16 18:05:10 [post_content] =>

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 focused on 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 was the role of both simple and more complicated mathematical models at various stages of this process. Dr. Lloyd also discussed 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 live online seminar was by invitation only. A recorded webcast may be viewed below (or at this link). 

[post_title] => Simple and Complex Models: Their Roles in the Evaluation of Gene Drives [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => genedriveseminars-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-06 21:10:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-06 21:10:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsirf.org/?post_type=event&p=10773 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => event [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10132 [post_author] => 65 [post_date] => 2019-01-31 20:45:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-31 20:45:51 [post_content] => Overview Agenda Overview

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 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 was made possible through a grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program for the purpose of fostering a discussion between U.S. regulatory agencies and scientists in the field of modeling for gene drive research. 

Participants at the Gene Drive Modeling Conference (June 11, 2019)

Agenda

Webinar Series: Videos

The Gene Drive Modeling Conference was preceded by a series of invitation-only webinars, for which recordings are available below.


Registration

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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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