Controlling the exchange of genetic information between sexually reproducing populations has applications in agriculture, eradication of disease vectors, control of invasive species, and the safe study of emerging biotechnology applications. Here we introduce an approach to engineer a genetic barrier to sexual reproduction between otherwise compatible populations. Programmable transcription factors drive lethal gene expression in hybrid offspring following undesired mating events. As a proof of concept, we target the ACT1 promoter of the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a dCas9-based transcriptional activator. Lethal overexpression of actin results from mating this engineered strain with a strain containing the wild-type ACT1 promoter.