Dr. Akbari Quoted
"This year, his advocacy has begun to bear fruit. Researchers and policymakers worldwide have been discussing the technology, and a report from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine urged that gene-drive research proceed, but cautiously. Omar Akbari, who studies gene drives at the University of California, Riverside, believes Esvelt’s outreach has focused public attention — and attracted funding — for a nascent technology at just the right time. “I attribute that to Kevin,” says Akbari. “It’s difficult for a scientist to do what he’s done.”
Nova Next - For Gene Drives, Resistance May Be Inevitable. pdf
Professor Akbari said this about how the severity of the effect of resistance in gene drive is dependent on the ultimate goal:
"If you’re able to block all disease [Dengue] transmission for a few weeks, that could essentially eliminate the virus. So you don’t need it to last indefinitely [versus if the goal was to create a lasting alteration for a disease like Zika]. "
The best way to get rid of mosquitoes? Turn them all into males. pdf
www.wsj.com/articles/mosquitoes-are-deadly-so-why-not-kill-them-all-1472827158Mosquitoes Are Deadly, So Why Not Kill Them All? pdf
Zika virus’s spread adds urgency to gene editing that could allow scientists to program the insects to die off, but the idea is fraught with quandaries.
"Prof. Akbari at UC Riverside is using Crispr/Cas9 to design a gene-drive system that would inactivate a fertility gene in female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and then pass on the inactivated gene. That would sterilize future generations of females.
He hopes to test the system within the next several months. “We’re working as fast as we can,” Prof. Akbari says."
www.deutschlandfunk.de/die-gen-bombe-kettenreaktion-gegen-zika-malaria-und-co.740.de.html?dram:article_id=363534 - pdf; Translated -pdf; mp3
"Omar Akbari, University of California Riverside: "If you want to destroy a biological kind in the world, for example, Aedes aegypti, the Zika supercarrier, this is now possible A new technique turns off vital genes of the mosquito and spreads itself in a way. . chain reaction Sometime breaks the whole population together - and you have eradicated this way."
San Diego Union Tribune. A path forward for gene drive technologies. pdf
"UC Riverside’s Akbari put in a plug for more research dollars in Southern California to develop and test gene drive technologies.“Developing these systems takes a lot of effort and time and they are very complex,” Akbari said. “So funding the right groups would be important, and opening up larger collaborative efforts.
“In California we have a pretty good team of people working on this goal. We have Bruce Hay at Caltech, Tony James at UC Irvine, Ethan Bier, and me. We’re all really close to each other, about an hour’s drive of each lab. So I think having a collaborative grant where we could come together and work on these technologies would be really nice, and we don’t have that yet.”
Nova Next. Editing Out Pesticides. pdf
“We’re taking multiple approaches. The ideal approach would be to eradicate the pest—develop a catalytic gene drive system that you could release into a population that can spread invasively,” says Omar Akbari, a molecular biologist at UC Riverside. “And as it spreads, the population declines without the use of insecticides.”
UCR Today. Rio Olympics from A to Z. pdf
Professor Akbari said this about Zika and the Olympics:
“It is estimated that 1/2 million visitors will travel to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics, and it is important that these travelers exercise extreme caution as related to Zika. In Brazil, Zika still poses a significant threat with a total of 166,000 suspected cases, and counting, thus far. As recommended by the CDC, pregnant women should avoid the games completely, and individuals with pregnant partners should abstain from sexual contact for the duration of the pregnancy, and upon returning home from the games. In addition, all visitors should take the necessary steps to prevent mosquito bites, both during the games and for several weeks after returning home.”
Geneticexperts.org. NAS report on gene drives recommends field trials but not environmental release.
Geneticexperts.org. NAS report on gene drives recommends field trials but not environmental release. pdf
Professor Akbari said this about gene drive recommendations:
Dr. Omar Akbari, Assistant Professor of Entomology, University of California, Riverside (webpage):
Expertise: Genetics and physiology of mosquitoes, genetic control technologies for limiting mosquito-borne diseases
“The NAS report does a commendable job at overviewing the technologies and identifying the knowledge gaps and barriers that will be important to address before any gene drive approach can be tested and utilized in the environment.
“As they conclude, and I agree, the potential applications of gene drives are quite exciting, however, the science is still premature and there are far too many unanswered questions to justify the release of a gene drive beyond the laboratory or contained field trials. Therefore, the committee urges caution until we understand better the ethical, regulatory, scientific, social and environmental consequences of unleashing gene drive containing organisms freely into the environment.
“To address these issues, the committee recommends that phased field testing, robust ecological risk assessments, and public engagement will be essential components for moving any gene drive from the laboratory to the field, and I generally agree with these recommendations. The committee also points out that regulation of gene drives will likely fall under the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. However, the federal agencies included in the current Coordinated Framework (FDA, USDA, EPA), do not have clear lines of authority over the potential applications of gene drive research.
“This issue of who will govern a technology that has no boundaries and can persist in the environment long-term will be very important address as this technology develops further in various species. Overall, this is a highly complex issue and the committee’s recommendations for a cautionary, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary, approach to future research and governance of gene drives is a good one.”
The Huffington Post. What Parents And Pregnant Women Need To Know About Zika Protection. pdf
Professor Akbari on Deet being the most effective repellent for mosquitoes bites:
"DEET is the oldest option. It was produced by the military and has been on the market since the gold standard...It has gone through the most tests."
UCR Today. Exploiting Male-Killing Bacteria to Control Insects. pdf
Professor Akbari on using male-killing bacteria to control insects:
“Understanding the molecular mechanisms of how this bacterium can bias sex ratios of insects could have downstream implications in other insects and these mechanisms could potentially be exploited to control insect species in the future.”
Food Chain Radio. Should we release GMO mosquitoes to fight Zika? pdf
Professor Akbari on the reasoning behind releasing GMO mosquitoes to fight Zika:
"Though small, and seemingly insignificant, mosquitos are among the most dangerous creatures on earth. They are the primary vectors for major diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever and Zika, which infect hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, killing millions every year."