Biotech Updates

Key Factors Identified for Establishing a Global Gene Drive Registry

December 21, 2022

Seventy participants from 14 countries convened to discuss the possibility of setting up a global gene drive registry to determine its potential benefits and challenges that may be encountered in relation to the development and use of gene drive organisms.

The discussions were summarized into three key points:

  • The registry could serve as a focal point for standardizing documentation, collating key information, and promoting situational awareness of projects coming from global multidisciplinary and multi-sector activities.
  • Designing the registry will require careful planning and consideration of intended use, and target end-user groups to ensure that it provides the information they need without creating mistrust among stakeholders.
  • The registry's intention to be transparent with the information it holds was viewed as ethically valuable, yet concerning and problematic in the sense that the information can be misinterpreted by anyone who accesses it.

The group also identified the following concerns related to the establishment of the registry:

  • Challenges related to transparency and information sharing may be encountered, but valuable lessons from the establishment of Biosafety Clearing Houses may be used as guidance to address them.
  • Concerns on intellectual property, accessibility of information to the public, and potential miscommunication.
  • The promotion of accessible communication and shared language across diverse multi-stakeholders.
  • How the registry would connect to existing governance approaches.

Their further recommendations include the following:

  • A careful, inclusive, and detailed discussion about how to establish the registry to ensure that all stakeholders are equally served.
  • Conduct a formal needs assessment with representatives of every perceived end-user group.
  • Consult experts who have previously designed a registry to such a level, and learn from their experiences.
  • Seek funding partners and institutional actors who will help maintain the registry.

For more information, read the full correspondence in Nature Biotechnology.

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