Spatial gene drives and pushed genetic waves.

TitleSpatial gene drives and pushed genetic waves.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsTanaka, H, Stone, HA, Nelson, DR
JournalProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Date Published2017 08 08
KeywordsComputer Simulation, Ecosystem, Gene Drive Technology, Genetics, Population, Models, Genetic, Population Dynamics

<p>Gene drives have the potential to rapidly replace a harmful wild-type allele with a gene drive allele engineered to have desired functionalities. However, an accidental or premature release of a gene drive construct to the natural environment could damage an ecosystem irreversibly. Thus, it is important to understand the spatiotemporal consequences of the super-Mendelian population genetics before potential applications. Here, we use a reaction-diffusion model for sexually reproducing diploid organisms to study how a locally introduced gene drive allele spreads to replace the wild-type allele, although it possesses a selective disadvantage > 0. Using methods developed by Barton and collaborators, we show that socially responsible gene drives require 0.5 < < 0.697, a rather narrow range. In this "pushed wave" regime, the spatial spreading of gene drives will be initiated only when the initial frequency distribution is above a threshold profile called "critical propagule," which acts as a safeguard against accidental release. We also study how the spatial spread of the pushed wave can be stopped by making gene drives uniquely vulnerable ("sensitizing drive") in a way that is harmless for a wild-type allele. Finally, we show that appropriately sensitized drives in two dimensions can be stopped, even by imperfect barriers perforated by a series of gaps.</p>

Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PubMed ID28743753
PubMed Central IDPMC5559037