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Mice invasion: Exploring new avenues to solve an old biodiversity challenge

Non-native invasive species are the second highest cause of biodiversity loss globally. As a result of human activity, mice have become one of the major ecosystem pests, invading almost all landmass on the planet. Current methods to eradicate them, such as chemical toxicants and bait stations, have several limitations in terms of costs, efficacy and feasibility.

Scientists worldwide are exploring new approaches to eradicate these invasive rodents. Recently, it was suggested the use of a synthetic gene drive called t-Sry that targets male fertility as one tool to eliminate target mouse populations. But mice are not monogamous, with females mating with different males over their lifespan. So how would this affect the effectiveness of such a gene drive, which targets male fertility instead of female fertility?

Using a theoretical model, researchers from the University of Liverpool (UK), North Carolina State University (US) and University of East Anglia (UK) analyzed the implications of polyandry for potential pest control programs. They also discussed the possible risk of a drive spreading beyond the target population and possible drive resistance. The results are available in this study recently published by The Royal Society.

To read the full study visit The Royal Society website.

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