Unlike classical gene drives for population replacement that sit, as transgenes, at some arbitrary location in the genome here hijacked host genes are themselves turned into gene drives.
We found this offers some unique advantages and could be a superior strategy if it is achievable.
This study was largely a product of the initiative of Giulia our Master student from the MRes in Systems and Synthetic Biology who was absolutely hell-bound of doing some bioinformatics in addition to her wetlab work. She formed a Powerthruple with Alex Nash and Andrea Beaghton and together they managed to generate the complex code (with thousands of allele combinations) needed to model multiple interacting gene drives, something the gene drive community has not really tackled yet. Well done everyone!
Giulia is now off to industry working at a London based CRISPR startup. Good luck!