Leveraging a natural murine meiotic drive to suppress invasive populations
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Populations of invasive rodents could be kept under control by genetic editing based on a naturally occurring gene.
Invasive rodents such as the house mouse pose a serious threat to native animals. Islands, which tend to be hotspots of biodiversity, are particularly vulnerable.
Now, by using computer modelling, a team led by researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia has shown that rodent populations could be supressed by harnessing ‘selfish’ genetic elements to propagate a gene that causes infertility in females.
Since the edited gene is not thought to jump across species it shouldn’t affect native animals.
The researchers suggest that small islands would be the most suitable places for trialling the method, although they note that further testing is needed before this.
- PNAS 119, e2213308119 (2022). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2213308119