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Zahra Champion

What is gene drive technology and what does it mean for New Zealand?


We’ve been hearing a lot about this technology over recent years – yet the concept has been about for half a century.

The concept of a synthetic gene drive was devised almost 50 years ago by Christopher Curtis who proposed rearranging genetic material to “drive” anti-pathogenic genes into wild species.

The idea was taken further by UK evolutionary geneticist Professor Austin Burtin, who discussed how a synthetic gene drive could be used to prevent insects spreading diseases such as malaria.

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Zahra Champion Zahra is Executive Director of BIOTechNZ and is working to bring together a national community of biotech innovators, investors, researchers, educators and policy makers; and connecting this community to global biotech ecosystems.