Genetically-modified possums and all-in-one trapping machines: funding for new predator-free studies

A. Allott,  stuff,  2021.

Research into possum genes and creating an all-in-one predator detecting, luring, and trapping machine are among a handful of projects to receive new funding to help bring them into reality. Predator Free 2050 has awarded $2.4 million in Jobs for Nature funding to six postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers from Otago, Canterbury, Lincoln and Auckland universities. University of Otago researcher Alana Alexander, who is trying to discover which genes are important for possums’ reproduction and survival, is one of them. “Gene drives seem very exciting, but they’re a genie in a bottle. We don’t really want possums in New Zealand, but they are part of the ecosystem in Australia, so making sure it’s contained would be really important.” Alexander said she wants people to understand the risks and benefits, so they can give informed consent when thinking about pest control down the line.

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