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Gene drive technology holds promise and peril

Scientists and security agencies are thinking hard about the safety of this sort of gene editing

By Philip Ball  
Could genetically modified mosquitoes be the next bio-weapon? AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)

Could genetically modified mosquitoes be the next bio-weapon? AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)

When engineer Theodore Maiman announced the first laser in 1960, reporters were quick to disclose the perils. “LA man discovers science fiction death ray”, announced the Los Angeles Herald. Four years later, Arno Goldfinger was threatening to emasculate James Bond with the new “weapon”.

Don’t be surprised if some Bond villain is soon holding the world to ransom with a “gene drive” that will spread…

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