News & Events


Next-generation Gene Drive Arrives

New CRISPR-based gene drives and broader active genetics technologies are revolutionizing the way scientists engineer the transfer of specific traits from one generation to another. Scientists at UC San Diego, including TIGS researchers, have now developed a new version of a gene drive that opens the door to the spread of specific, favorable subtle genetic variants, also known as “alleles,” throughout a population. The new “allelic drive,” described April 9 in Nature Communications, is equipped with a guide RNA (gRNA) that directs the CRISPR system to cut undesired variants of a gene and replace it with a preferred version of the gene. The new drive extends scientists’ ability to modify populations of organisms with precision editing. Using word processing as an analogy, CRISPR-based gene drives allow scientists to edit sentences of genetic information, while the new allelic drive offers letter-by-letter editing.



TIGS Scientists First to Use CRISPR/Cas9 to Control Genetic Inheritance in Mice

A team of UC San Diego biologists and TIGS scientists including Hannah Grunwald, Valentino Gantz, Ethan Bier and Kimberly Cooper developed the world’s first CRISPR/Cas9-based approach to control genetic inheritance in a mammal.  Publishing their work in the journal Nature, the researchers developed a new active genetic technology in mice. The achievement lays the groundwork for further advances based on this technology, including biomedical research on human disease. More details here and this video...


TIGS Science Director on Science and Facts -- Allen Institute video


Tata Hall for the Sciences opens at UC San Diego


Fellowship Opportunities for BS/MS Students

Working in the Area of Active Genetics

TIGS-UC San Diego would like to announce an exciting opportunity for BS/MS students at UC San Diego who wish to pursue research projects in the area of Active Genetics. A one-time $5,000 fellowship will be awarded to up to 10 students/year who apply by providing the following application materials: 1) A statement of purpose explaining interest in the field of Active Genetics; 2) A letter of recommendation from a BS/MS advisor who will serve as a mentor while the student is pursuing the Active Genetics project; 3) A description of the project proposal to be provided jointly by the student and their mentor.

Specific calls for applications will occur at the end of the spring quarter, with application materials due no later than September 1st via email to for review by the TIGS Executive Committee. The applicants must be either current MS students or accepted into the MS part of the program in the fall quarter of the year of application.

Awardees will be expected to (i) attend the monthly Active Genetics meetings, (ii) present their work at the Annual Undergraduate Research Showcase and (iii) acknowledge the support of TIGS in their BS/MS thesis, public presentations and publications that arise from their work. 

Gene-drives and Active Genetics: A Henry Stewart Talks Series Organized by Professor Ethan Bier

  • Seven lecture Henry Stewart Talks series available here (subscription required) The series features: Professor Ethan Bier (UC San Diego): Gene Drives and Their Implications for Health and Society; Dr. Anthony James (UC Irvine): Population Modification of Malaria Vector Mosquitoes; Professor Ethan Bier (UC San Diego): The Dawn of Active Genetics; Professor Craig Montell (UC Santa Barbara): Suppressing Mosquito Disease Vectors Via Manipulating Fertility, Sex and Male-Courtship Drive; Professor Gregory Lanzaro (UC Davis): Ecological Considerations for Gene Drive Systems; Professors Fred Gould and Alun Lloyd (North Carolina State University): Gene Drive Behavior When Pest Populations Have Age, Mating and Spatial Structure; Professor Stephanie James (Foundation for the National Institutes of Health): Guidance for Responsible Testing and Implementation of Gene-drive Systems; and Professor Cinnamon Bloss (UC San Diego): Public Response to a Proposed Field Trial of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in the United States -- A Case Study

Technology assessment for policy and management:

A case study of synthetic biology

Certificate course offered periodically by the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego

Instructor: GPS Professor of Practice Dr. Robert Friedman

This short course will focus on governance challenges posed by emerging technologies, using synthetic biology as an example. Synthetic biology is, simply, “next-generation” genetic engineering, combining advances in chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering. Microbes, plants and animals can be engineered faster, cheaper and with greater precision to make and do things not previously possible. 

The short course will meet once per week for five weeks, 75 minutes per session. The first session will be an overview of the technology, the types of products and applications being considered and the societal concerns the new technology raises.

Subsequent sessions will drill down to consider either a particular category of concerns or a specific application in greater depth.  Each session will explore the topic from two perspectives: 1) the societal issues and resulting governance challenges and responses and 2) technology assessment for policy and management, that is a focus on how “policy sausage” is actually made. 

Session 1:  Overview of synthetic biology, its potential benefits, and governance challenges

Session 2:  Dual use concern

Session 3:  Environmental and human health concerns:

Session 4:  International governance of synthetic biology.  Synthetic biology meets the United Nations. 

Session 5: “Gene drives”.   Rewriting genetic code can rewrite the rules of inheritance in insects. 

Tata Institute for Genetics and Society Advances with Building Naming, Inaugural Chair Holders

Active Genetics Goes Global

  • UC San Diego News Feature: Tata Trusts & University of California San Diego partner to establish Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society

India's Tata gives UC San Diego $70M in hot area of genetics