Abstract

Gene drives are genetic modifications designed for rapidly diffusing traits throughout a target population. They are currently being proposed as biological control agents to combat, for instance, invasive alien species and disease vectors. They also raise concerns regarding their potential adverse effects on biological diversity. This text assesses gene drive governance under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. While gene drives are directly relevant for the objectives of both agreements, their regulatory frameworks have not kept up with the pace of technological change. The focus of this article is on the analysis of gaps and inconsistencies within both agreements. It highlights numerous elements of the CBD and the Cartagena Protocol that raise challenges for gene drive governance, such as matters related to regulatory scope, transboundary movements, precaution and invasive alien species.

Full article