The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plans to double the sum it is spending to create a mosquito-killing technology that relies on CRISPR gene editing.
The technique, called a gene drive, is a way to spread traits through wild populations of animals, but its ability to alter nature is drawing opposition from some environmental groups.
The Gates-funded project, called Target Malaria, is based at Imperial College, London, and has been seeking to add instructions to the DNA of malaria mosquitoes that would cause them to become sterile. If released in the wild, a gene drive could push these species to extinction.
Spokesman Bryan Callahan says the Gates Foundation will give Target Malaria an additional $35 million, bringing Gates’s total investment to $75 million. That is the largest sum ever spent on gene-drive technology.
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