U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



Kanya C. Long, University of California, San DiegoFollow
Luke Alphey, The Pirbright Institute, Pirbright, Woking
George J. Annas, Boston University School of Public Health
Cinnamon S. Bloss, University of California, San Diego
Karl J. Campbell, University of Queensland
Jackson Champer, Cornell University
Chun-Hong Chen, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan
Amit Choudhary, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
George M. Church, Harvard University
James P. Collins, Arizona State University
Kimberly L. Cooper, University of California, San Diego
Jason A. Delborne, North Carolina State University
Owain R. Edwards, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Perth
Claudia I. Emerson, McMaster University
Kevin Esvelt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sam Weiss Evans, Harvard University
Robert M. Friedman, J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, CA
Valentino M. Gantz, University of California, San Diego
Fred Gould, North Carolina State University
Sarah Hartley, University of Exeter Business School
Elizabeth Heitman, University of Texas Southwestern
Janet Hemingway, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Hirotaka Kanuka, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo
Jennifer Kuzma, North Carolina State University
James V. Lavery, Emory University
Yoosook Lee, University of Florida
Marce Lorenzen, North Carolina State University
Jeantine E. Lunshof, Harvard University
John M. Marshall, University of California, Berkeley
Philipp W. Messer, Cornell University
Craig Montell, University of California Santa Barbara
Kenneth A. Oye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Megan J. Palmer, Stanford University
Philippos Aris Papathanos, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prasad N. Paradkar, Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, Geelong
Antoinette J. Piaggio, USDA/APHIS/WS/National Wildlife Research CenterFollow
Jason L. Rasgon, The Pennsylvania State University
Gordana Rašić, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston
Larisa Rudenko, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
J. Royden Saah, The University of Queensland, Australia
Maxwell J. Scott, North Carolina State University
Jolene T. Sutton, University of Hawaii at Hilo
Adam E, Vorsino, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu, HI
Omar S. Akbari, University of California, San DiegoFollow

Date of this Version



Long, K.C., L. Alphey, G.J. Annas, C.S. Bloss, K.J. Campbell, J. Champer, C.-H. Chen, A. Choudhary, G.M. Church, J.P. Collins, K.L. Cooper, J.A. Delborne, O.R. Edwards, C.I. Emerson, K. Esvelt, S.W. Evans, R.M. Friedman, V.M. Gantz, F. Gould, S. Hartley, E. Heitman, J. Hemingway, H. Kanuka, J. Kuzma, J.V. Lavery, Y. Lee, M. Lorenzen, J.E. Lunshof, J.M. Marshall, P.W. Messer, C. Montell, K.A. Oye, M.J. Palmer, P.A. Papathanos, P.N. Paradkar, A.J. Piaggio, J.L. Rasgon, G. Rasic, L. Rudenko, J.R. Saah, M.J. Scott, J.T. Sutton, A.E. Vorsino, and O.S. Akbari. 2020. Core commitments for field trials of gene drive organisms. Science 370(6523):1417-1419. doi: 10.1126/science.abd1908


US gov't work


We must ensure that trials are scientifically, politically, and socially robust, publicly accountable, and widely transparent.

Gene drive organisms (GDOs), whose genomes have been genetically engineered to spread a desired allele through a population, have the potential to transform the way societies address a wide range of daunting public health and environmental challenges. The development, testing, and release of GDOs, however, are complex and often controversial. A key challenge is to clarify the appropriate roles of developers and others actively engaged in work with GDOs in decision-making processes, and, in particular, how to establish partnerships with relevant authorities and other stakeholders. Several members of the gene drive community previously proposed safeguards for laboratory experiments with GDOs (1) that, in the absence of national or international guidelines, were considered essential for responsible laboratory work to proceed. Now, with GDO development advancing in laboratories (2–5), we envision similar safeguards for the potential next step: ecologically and/or genetically confined field trials to further assess the performance of GDOs. A GDO’s propensity to spread necessitates well-developed criteria for field trials to assess its potential impacts (6). We, as a multidisciplinary group of GDO developers, ecologists, conservation biologists, and experts in social science, ethics, and policy, outline commitments below that we deem critical for responsible conduct of a field trial and to ensure that these technologies, if they are introduced, serve the public interest.

Includes Supplementary materials.