SA Scientists Trial Sterilising Mice In A Bid To End Rodent Plagues
Gene Drive project
University of Adelaide scientists are looking at controversial ways to stop mice in their tracks.
Working alongside the SA's Environmental Department the Gene Drive project will trial genetic biocontrol technology for invasive pest animals.
In a bid to avoid another devastating mouse plague scientists are exploring the use of new technologies for gene editing to enable switching certain genes on or off.
Professor Rachel Ankeny told The Advertiser she hopes the study could be a game changer for rural communities who have been fighting a losing battle with mice plagues.
“The idea is to make the mice sterile or unable to breed effectively. This in turn, particularly because they breed so rapidly, will reduce the populations of mice"
Previously used in mosquitoes to reduce disease transmission, gene drives could be the new frontier in pest control.
Backing the project with $1 million in State funding, Environment Minister David Speirs said the project is an “important tool” that could be used for managing other pest species, such as rats, foxes, and rabbits.
The mouse plague that devastated many regions of southern Queensland; northern, central, and southern NSW; north-western Victoria; and parts of South Australia is expected to top $1 billion in crop destruction.
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