Nature Reviews Genetics 7, 427-435 (June 2006) | doi:10.1038/nrg1870

Gene drive systems for insect disease vectors

Steven P. Sinkins1 & Fred Gould2  About the authors


The elegant mechanisms by which naturally occurring selfish genetic elements, such as transposable elements, meiotic drive genes, homing endonuclease genes and Wolbachia, spread at the expense of their hosts provide some of the most fascinating and remarkable subjects in evolutionary genetics. These elements also have enormous untapped potential to be used in the control of some of the world's most devastating diseases. Effective gene drive systems for spreading genes that can block the transmission of insect-borne pathogens are much needed. Here we explore the potential of natural gene drive systems and discuss the artificial constructs that could be envisaged for this purpose.

Author affiliations

  1. Peter Medawar Building & Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.
  2. Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695–7634, USA.

Correspondence to: Steven P. Sinkins1 Email:

Published online 9 May 2006