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Editing Genes Can Now Change an Entire Species

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If you've taken any basic high school biology class, you've probably seen the Punnett square tossed around a few times. According to the Punnett square, an offspring of any species is guaranteed to take half its genes from each parent. This was a rule that went unviolated until biologists Anthony James and Ethan Bier conducted an experiment to eliminate malaria-infected mosquitos. After modifying the genes in two mosquitos to be malaria resistant, they released the pair into a box of 30 infected mosquitos. In the end, the mosquitoes reproduced to create only 3,800 anti-malaria offspring. The results of this experiment are only the first steps in using genes to rid the world of disease and invasive species. In this TED Talk, Jennifer Kahn discusses the future of gene modification in animals, and what it means for us. Learn about the gene drive, which enabled the mosquito offspring to resist the malaria virus, as well as the potential pitfalls of such a technique -- from rogue gene-drives to unplanned species. Give it a watch to learn more!
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