Special Feature: US Gene Drive Governance
Lane Warmbrod, MS, MPH
Amanda Kobokovich, MPH
Rachel West, PhD
Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD
Michael Montague, PhD
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Manuscript submission deadline: May 31, 2021
In recent years, emerging biotechnologies, such as gene drives and genetically self-limiting sterile insects, have been transitioning from theoretical possibilities to application-ready products. These biotechnologies have profound implications for vectorborne disease control in the near term and for, potentially, a much wider set of applications—such as agricultural pest control and control of invasive species—in the future. New biotechnology-driven methods offer unprecedented levels of fine control over past interventions, such as irradiation-mediated sterile insect techniques or coordinated pesticide applications, that had some success. Gene drives and other emerging biotechnologies offer the potential to not just manage pest populations but induce enduring genetic changes and corresponding biological properties in wild populations.
The novel potential of gene drives and related genetic pest control measures highlights a gap in the oversight of products using such technologies in the United States. The US Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology, as applied by US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Food and Drug Administration, and US Department of Agriculture, may not fully encompass modern synthetic biology techniques that have significantly expanded the scope of genetic modification technology applications.
This special feature in Health Security will be devoted to exploration of methods, programs, policies, and systems as well as ongoing and future research and policy efforts that focus on maximizing the potential for optimal oversight of the use of gene drives or similar products in a US context. The Journal seeks scholarly papers that address the wide range of policy, practice, and research issues relevant to this topic. Additionally, narrative or conceptual reviews of specific US policies related to gene drives and related emergent biotechnologies are welcome.
Paper topics might include:
- Scoping the need for further US oversight measures or regulation of gene drives, all genetic pest control methods, and related biotechnological methods such as biological pest control
- A review of the US relationship with the Cartagena protocol and similar treaties as they apply to gene drives and similar technologies
- The proper location and funding in the US regulatory structure for gene drive and related emerging biotechnology monitoring and oversight
- The role of nongovernment organizations regarding gene drives and other emergent biotechnologies
- The role of state and local regulations
- Public engagement and identification of stakeholders regarding gene drives and similar biotechnologies
- The need for technical documentation and coordination between multiple parties intervening in the same geographic region or pest species
Articles on other aspects of the gene drive and related emerging biotechnology oversight and monitoring in the United States are also welcome.
Information for authors: The special feature devoted to gene drive and related emerging biotechnology regulation in the United States will be published in the November/December 2021 issue of Health Security. Scholarly and review articles, descriptions of practice, and commentaries are welcome. Original article manuscripts can be up to 4,000 words and commentaries can be up to 2,000 words, both exclusive of the abstract, tables, figures, and references. Please consult the Journal website for specific submission instructions.
Please direct questions about the special feature to Lane Warmbrod.
The deadline for article submission is May 31, 2021. Papers must be submitted via our online manuscript peer-review system.
Health Security, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is a bimonthly peer-reviewed Journal, now in its 19th year of publication. It serves as an international forum for debate and exploration of the key strategic, scientific, and operational issues posed by biological weapons, pandemics and emerging infectious diseases, natural disasters, and other threats to global health. The Journal provides multidisciplinary analyses and perspectives essential to the creation of strategies and programs that can diminish the consequences of health emergencies, epidemics, and disasters.
The Journal’s international audience includes those professional communities that have strategic, scientific, or operational responsibilities critical to improving health security, including medicine, public health, law, national security, bioscientific research, agriculture, food safety, and drug and vaccine development.
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