Gantz V.M. and Ethan Bier. Science (2015) 348:442-444. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25908821
Zoonotic diseases, such as malaria and West Nile, result in illness and can be fatal. Traditionally these diseases have been controlled by individuals wearing insect netting and by reduction in insect populations. With the advent of gene editing techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9 systems so called “Gene Drives” have become a third possibility. Gene Drives involve the selective gene editing and propagation throughout a population to prevent carrier infection. In order for a Gene Drive to be successful both copies of a gene must be edited in the modified individual to ensure transmission to all offspring. Gantz and Bier have now demonstrated the ability to use the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit both alleles in somatic and germline cells through a process called mutagenic chain reaction (MCR). In Drosophila this involves insertion of the CRISPR/Cas9 machinery through Homology Directed Repair into the target genome which allows for continuous editing of the target site through insertion of the CRISPR/Cas9 machinery.