Keywords: conservation

Natural and Engineered Sex Ratio Distortion in Insects

A. Compton and Z. Tu,  Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution,  10. 2022.
Insects have evolved highly diverse genetic sex-determination mechanisms and a relatively balanced male to female sex ratio is generally expected. However, selection may shift the optimal sex ratio while meiotic drive and endosymbiont manipulation can result in sex ratio ...
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Generation of Gene Drive Mice for Invasive Pest Population Suppression

M. D. Bunting, C. Pfitzner, L. Gierus, M. White, S. Piltz and P. Q. Thomas,  Applications of Genome Modulation and Editing,  2022.
Gene drives are genetic elements that are transmitted to greater than 50% of offspring and have potential for population modification or suppression. While gene drives are known to occur naturally, the recent emergence of CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology has enabled ...
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Mosquito control to save Hawaiian honeycreepers does not involve GMOs

Department of Land and Natural Resources,  Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources,  2022.
Despite misinformation circulating on social media, the importation of “incompatible-male” mosquitoes to control populations of wild mosquitoes and to save four native bird species from extinction, does not involve the use of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or ...
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Leveraging a natural murine meiotic drive to suppress invasive populations

L. Gierus, A. Birand, M. D. Bunting, G. I. Godahewa, S. G. Piltz, K. P. Oh, A. J. Piaggio, D. W. Threadgill, J. Godwin, O. Edwards, P. Cassey, J. V. Ross, T. A. A. Prowse and P. Q. Thomas,  bioRxiv,  2022.05.31.494104. 2022.
Invasive rodents, including house mice, are a major cause of environmental damage and biodiversity loss, particularly in island ecosystems. Eradication can be achieved through the distribution of rodenticide, but this approach is expensive to apply at scale, can have negative ...
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What role can gene editing play in predator control? And are we ready to accept it?

K. Green,  Stuff,  2022.
The once-forbidden concept of gene editing for predator control is back on the table after two projects receivedGovernment funding. Despite advances overseas, experts are worried research in New Zealand will never make it out of the lab, with no plans to change current ...
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The principles driving gene drives for conservation

S. Hartley, R. Taitingfong and P. Fidelman,  Environmental Science and Policy,  135:36-45. 2022.
Gene drive technology is an emerging biotechnology with the potential to address some of the most intractable global biodiversity conservation issues. Scientists are exploring potential gene drive applications for managing invasive species and building resilience in keystone ...
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Track New Zealand’s Bid to Take Back Nature

K. Peek,  Scientific American,  2022.
A thousand years ago the islands that today form New Zealand were riotously wild. Birds, reptiles and invertebrates flourished in lush forests hundreds of miles from any other landmass. Māori settlers in the 1200s brought Polynesian rats for food, and together the humans and the ...
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Gene drives for vertebrate pest control: realistic spatial modelling of eradication probabilities and times for island mouse populations

A. Birand, P. Cassey, J. V. Ross, J. C. Russell, P. Thomas and T. A. A. Prowse,  Molecular Ecology,  2022.
Abstract Invasive alien species continue to threaten global biodiversity. CRISPR-based gene drives, which can theoretically spread through populations despite imparting a fitness cost, could be used to suppress or eradicate pest populations. We develop an individual-based, ...
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Scientists expand CRISPR-Cas9 genetic inheritance control in mammals

M. Aguilera,  Phys Org,  2022.
Led by graduate student Alexander Weitzel, Grunwald, Cooper and their colleagues have now succeeded in developing CRISPR-Cas9 inheritance control in male mice by shifting the gene editing window to more closely match the timing of meiosis in both sexes. Their results were ...
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How sci-fi weapon could stop grey squirrels killing Britain’s trees

rymeradelle,  INentertainment,  2021.
Grey squirrels pose the greatest threat to British foresters at the moment. They eat the bark of trees, leaving them to die. Picture: Grey squirrel perched on a tree It’s bad enough watching Britain’s ash trees wither from the ash dieback fungus now ravaging our countryside. ...
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New developments in the field of genomic technologies and their relevance to conservation management

G. Segelbacher, M. Bosse, P. Burger, P. Galbusera, J. A. Godoy, P. Helsen, C. Hvilsom, L. Iacolina, A. Kahric, C. Manfrin, M. Nonic, D. Thizy, I. Tsvetkov, N. Veličković, C. Vilà, S. M. Wisely and E. Buzan,  Conservation Genetics,  2021.
Recent technological advances in the field of genomics offer conservation managers and practitioners new tools to explore for conservation applications. Many of these tools are well developed and used by other life science fields, while others are still in development. ...
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A Golden Menace

S. Moutinho,  Science,  2021.
An even bigger catastrophe looms: the invasion of the Amazon and its tributaries, part of the largest drainage basin in South America, which spans eight countries and is one of the richest hot spots for biodiversity on the planet. Golden mussels have been documented in the ...
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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 ...
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Faut-il miser sur le forçage génétique contre les espèces invasives?

P. Minet,  Le Temps,  2021.
Un «gene drive» peut servir à annihiler complètement et rapidement une population d’animaux indésirables. Prometteuse pour lutter contre les espèces invasives, cette technologie a fait l’objet d’âpres débats dans le cadre du congrès mondial de la nature à ...
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Scientists debate promise, peril of tweaking wild genomes

J. Zamora,  Phys Org,  2021.
In the movie Jurassic Park, reconstructing and tweaking genetic material makes it possible to bring dinosaurs back to life. Today, a technology that manipulates animal genomes, called gene drive, has become a reality. The goal, however, is not to revive long-gone species, but to ...
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Invasive Mice and Engineered Genes

W. M. Adams and K. H. Redford,  Yale University Press Blog,  2021.
On Gough Island, a steep speck of land deep in the South Atlantic, giant mice eat albatross chicks as they sit on their nests. They are house mice, accidental arrivals on the ships of long-dead sealers. But they have lost their secretive, timid, mousy ways. Over numerous ...
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World Nature Conservation Day: Technology to Forge a Path for Nature Conservation and Communities

P. Becker,  Isand Conservation,  2021.
Gene drives are a genetic phenomenon that occurs in nature and causes a gene or trait to have a greater than 50% chance of inheritance. Island Conservation and partners have formed the Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents (GBIRd) partnership, to explore the technical and social ...
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Gene Drive: The Technology and its Potentials for Biodiversity Conservatio

Z. Bugnosen,  Science Speaks,  2021.
Gene drive is a gene editing tool that is rapidly advancing as scientists investigate further its potentials to address concerns related to agriculture, the environment, and even human health. To help the public understand it better, ISAAA and its network of Biotechnology ...
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First evidence of deviation from Mendelian proportions in a conservation programme

C. E. Grueber, K. A. Farquharson, B. R. Wright, G. P. Wallis, C. J. Hogg and K. Belov,  Molecular Ecology,  13. 2021.
Classic Mendelian inheritance is the bedrock of population genetics and underpins pedigree-based management of animal populations. However, assumptions of Mendelian inheritance might not be upheld in conservation breeding programmes if early viability selection occurs, even when ...
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Cloning wildlife and editing their genes to protect them and us.

H. Thomasy,  NEO-LIFE,  2021.
In December 10, 2020, Elizabeth Ann made history just by being born. She isn’t a British royal, an American married to a British royal, a movie star’s daughter, or even human for that matter. Elizabeth Ann is a ferret—but perhaps the most famous ferret of all time. More ...
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The science & ethics of gene drive technology from a conservation & development perspective

Renew Europe,  Renew Europe,  2021.
This hearing intends to examine gene-drive technology and its possible impacts, including unintended ones and reveal the complexity of an unknown technology with inherent uncertainties. Scientists from different backgrounds in the field of gene-drive research will present most ...
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Designing gene drives to limit spillover to non-target populations

G. Greenbaum, M. W. Feldman, N. A. Rosenberg and J. Kim,  PLOS Genetics,  17:e1009278. 2021.
We develop mathematical models of gene-drive dynamics that incorporate migration between a target and non-target populations to investigate the possibility of effectively applying a gene drive in the target population while limiting its spillovers to the non-target population ...
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Plain language summary: How do we have a public conversation about new technologies for conservation? The possibilities and pitfalls of scientific language

Annonymous,  Relational Thinking,  2021.
Having caused a catastrophic decline of animal species, people now look to new technologies to reverse the damage. Gene drive is a potential tool that could increase the proportion of male offspring in rat populations and eventually reduce their overall numbers. Some suggest this ...
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A Code of Ethics for Gene Drive Research

G. J. Annas, C. L. Beisel, K. Clement, A. Crisanti, S. Francis, M. Galardini, R. Galizi, J. Grünewald, G. Immobile, A. S. Khalil, R. Müller, V. Pattanayak, K. Petri, L. Paul, L. Pinello, A. Simoni, C. Taxiarchi and J. K. Joung,  The CRISPR Journal,  2021.
A code of ethics can be a useful tool for all parties involved in the development and regulation of gene drives and can be used to help ensure that a balanced analysis of risks, benefits, and values is taken into consideration for the interest of society and humanity. We have ...
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Playing God and tampering with nature: popular labels for real concerns in synthetic biology

L. Carter, A. Mankad, E. V. Hobman and N. B. Porter,  Transgenic Research,  2021.
We present the findings from a large Australian study (N = 4593) which suggests ‘playing God’ objections and their variants can be multilayered and, at times, accompanied by meaningful information about risk perceptions. We use qualitative analysis of ope
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Exploring Gene Drive Technologies in Agriculture, Biodiversity and Human Disease

The GBIRd Partnership and The GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  Gene Drive Research Forum,  2021.
The GBIRd Partnership and The GeneConvene Global Collaborative recently collaborated through The Gene Drive Research Forum, to create and produce an engaging conversation between Drs. Fred Gould and Charles Godfray about gene drive technologies – the potential benefits and ...
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CRISPR and the splice to survive: New gene-editing technology could be used to save species from extinction—or to eliminate them.

E. Kolbert,  New Yorker,  2021.
About a year ago, not long before the pandemic began, I paid a visit to the center, which is an hour southwest of Melbourne. The draw was an experiment on a species of giant toad known familiarly as the cane toad. The toad was introduced to Australia as an agent of pest control, ...
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Conservation pest control with new technologies: public perceptions

E. A. MacDonald, M. B. Neff, E. Edwards, F. Medvecky and J. Balanovic,  Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand,  2021.
We conducted eleven focus groups in New Zealand to explore three questions about novel technologies (gene drive and two others for comparison of pest control tools): (1) what are the risks/benefits? (2) how do they compare to current methods? and (3) who should be represented on ...
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The New Yorker Magazine: Gene Drives as a Tool for Saving Nature

E. Heber,  Island Conservation,  2021.
In a recent New Yorker Magazine article, entitled “CRISPR and the Splice to Survive,” journalist and best-selling author Elizabeth Kolbert dives into the world of gene drive research. She touches on aspects of gene drive research from altering the toxin produced by cane toads ...
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GMOs: Implications for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Processes

Chaurasia, Anurag , Hawksworth, David L., Pessoa de Miranda, Manoela.,  GMOs: Implications for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Processes,  2020.
This book covers a broad spectrum of topics related to GMOs and allied new gene-based technologies, biodiversity, and ecosystem processes, bringing together the contributions of researchers and regulators from around the world. The aim is to offer a clear view of the benefits and ...
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Engineering biological diversity: the international governance of synthetic biology, gene drives, and de-extinction for conservation

J. L. Reynolds,  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability,  49:1-6. 2020.
In the face of insufficient progress in conserving and restoring biodiversity, the in situ use of advanced genetic modification, gene drives, and other biotechnologies for conservation purposes are being considered, researched, and developed. This paper introduces the methods, ...
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Gene drives, species, and compassion for individuals in conservation biology

Y. Rohwer,  Ethics, Policy and Environment,  2020.
In this paper I argue that these compassionate conservationists have a moral obligation to support the investigation and development of genetic modification technologies because of their potential to minimize suffering and eliminate killing in conservation. Furthermore, I will ...
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When Extinction is Warranted: Invasive Species, Suppression-Drives, and the Worst-Case Scenario

A. C. Thresher,  Ethics, Policy and Environment,  2020.
The focus of this paper is on one such risk ? the danger of a suppression-drive escaping containment and wiping out the target species globally. Here, I argue that in most cases this risk is significant enough to warrant holding off on the technology. In some cases, however, we ...
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Modeling CRISPR gene drives for suppression of invasive rodents

S. E. Champer, N. Oakes, R. Sharma, P. García-Díaz, J. Champer and P. W. Messer,  bioRxiv,  2020.11.05.369942. 2020.
Here, we develop a high-fidelity model of an island population of invasive rodents that includes three types of suppression gene drive systems. The individual-based model is spatially explicit and allows for overlapping generations and a fluctuating population size. Our model ...
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Interview with Professor Austin Burt: Role of gene drive technology in the context of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy 2030

S. Dunphy,  European Scientist,  2020.
In view of these conditions, leading scientists are calling on EU institutions to continue to back research into gene drive as a potential tool to protect public health and deliver on Europe’s biodiversity goals. Experts believe gene drive technologies could be a vital and ...
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Why the UK could end up deploying risky gene drives while ignoring natural biological control

J. Mathews,  GM Watch,  2020.
First they cloned Dolly the sheep. Now they’re targeting grey squirrels
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Teach Me in 10 – Gene Drive Research with Dr. Jennifer Baltzegar

J. Baltzegar,  Technology Networks,  2020.
Dr Baltzegar teaches us about how the maturation of genetic engineering approaches has advanced gene drives, the two different strategies for gene drives and some of the key questions surrounding the application of gene drives in society.
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Underlying beliefs linked to public opinion about gene drive and pest-specific toxin for pest control

E. A. MacDonald, E. Edwards, J. Balanovic and F. Medvecky,  Wildlife Research,  2020.
Public engagement that acknowledges and responds to these underlying beliefs, rather than a traditional campaign based on biodiversity and environmental gains, may be more effective at creating a constructive dialogue about if and how these tools should be used, and to avoid ...
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Generating single-sex litters: development of CRISPR-Cas9 genetic tools to produce all-male offspring

C. Douglas, V. Maciulyte, J. Zohren, D. M. Snell, O. A. Ojarikre, P. J. Ellis and J. M. A. Turner,  bioRxiv,  2020.09.07.285536. 2020.
Using the mouse as a model, we developed a synthetic, two-part bicomponent strategy for generating all-male litters.
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Researchers’ Plan To Release Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees in Forests Will Set Dangerous Precedents If Approved

Global Justice Ecology Project,  Common Dreams,  2020.
Researchers are working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to finalize a petition requesting the unprecedented approval of a genetically engineered (GE or genetically modified) tree designed to be planted in our forests and spread freely in the wild. Once the ...
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Maintenance management and eradication of established aquatic invaders

D. Simberloff,  Hydrobiologia,  22. 2020.
The rapid development of technologies based on genetics has engendered excitement about possibly eradicating or controlling terrestrial invaders, and such technologies may also prove useful for certain aquatic invaders. Methods of particular interest, alone or in various ...
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Le forçage génétique (gène drive) et ses applications

V. Courtier-Orgogozo,  Bulletin de l'Académie Vétérinaire de France,  172:94-98. 2020.
Gene drive is a new genetic engineering technology that has been developed over the past five years and that allows genetic modifications to spread rapidly in natural populations. Potential applications are numerous, for public health issues, agriculture and conservation biology. ...
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Super-Mendelian inheritance mediated by CRISPR-Cas9 in the female mouse germline

H. A. Grunwald, V. M. Gantz, G. Poplawski, X.-r. S. Xu, E. Bier and K. L. Cooper,  TAGC 2020,  2020.
A gene drive biases the transmission of one of the two copies of a gene such that it is inherited more frequently than by random segregation. Highly efficient gene drive systems that have recently been developed in insects, which leverage the sequence-targeted DNA cleavage ...
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GENE DRIVE ORGANISMS: Implications for the environment and nature conservation

M. Dolezel, S. Simon, M. Otto, M. Engelhard and W. Zughart,  Umweltbundesamt,  2020.
Recent advances in biotechnology aim at the genetic modification of wild living populations. Some potential applications consider self-propagating genetic elements to generate gene drive organisms (GDOs), also for nature conservation. Due to the potential of GDOs to spread ...
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The risks of using gene drives to get rid of ‘pesky species’

R. Lewis,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2020.
The mammals of New Zealand have long posed a threat to native species. The Predator Free 2050 program is an effort to rid the island of these invaders – including using the tools of CRISPR-based genome editing to create a gene drive to jumpstart extinctions. It’s a very ...
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NZ’s great pest-free quest: can we get there?

J. Morton,  NZ Herald,  2020.
The Government has unveiled how it plans to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050 – but there's no specific mention of contentious gene-editing technology that many scientists say will be needed. The Predator Free 2050 strategy, being formally launched this ...
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What squirrels can teach us about why, when, and how to use gene drives

Rebecca Nesbit,  synbiobeta,  2020.
As the last ice age drew to a close, red squirrels made Britain their home. They adapted to a changing landscape and thrived as the UK’s only squirrel species. That all changed in 1876 when grey squirrels were introduced to England from North America as an ornamental species in ...
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Engineering Bugs, Resurrecting Species: The Wild World of Synthetic Biology for Conservation

P. Rejcek,  Singularity Hub,  2020.
Imagine a world where a mosquito bite is just an itchy annoyance. No malaria. No dengue fever. Last month, scientists announced they had taken one more step toward that vision. A paper in the journal PLOS Pathogens described how they synthetically engineered mosquitoes to stop ...
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Can CRISPR Save Tufty Fluffytail?

L. Tracey,  JSTOR Daily,  2020.
The native red squirrel population in the UK has been decimated by the encroachment of its American cousin, an invasive species. Could a “gene drive” hel
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Mosquitoes Genetically Engineered To Resist Dengue Fever

R. Bailey,  reason,  2020.
Gene drives could spread this beneficial trait through wild mosquito populations.
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Regulation of GM Organisms for Invasive Species Control

H. J. Mitchell and D. Bartsch,  Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology,  7:1-11. 2020.
Invasive species can cause significant harm to the environment, agriculture, and human health, but there are often very limited tools available to control their populations. Gene drives (GD) have been proposed as a new tool which could be used to control or eliminate such ...
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DNA ‘edit’ that could wipe out grey invaders

Levy, A.,  Scottish Daily Mail,  2020.
It is the big, brash invasive species whose advance has left the native red squirrel clinging on for survival in areas where once it thrived. But the march of the grey squirrel could be halted by a 'gene drive', say researchers at the laboratory responsible for Dolly the sheep.
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Metaphor, Trust and Support for Non-native Species Control

P. A. Kohl, S. J. Collins and M. Eichholz,  Environmental Communication,  14:672-685. 2020.
This experimental study used a representative sample of U.S. residents (N = 1,042) to test whether the use of the term "invasive" increases support for non-native species control efforts. The term invasive had a small influence on support for two out of three non-native species ...
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Scenario analysis on the use of rodenticides and sex-biasing gene drives for the removal of invasive house mice on islands

M. E. Serr, R. X. Valdez, K. S. Barnhill-Dilling, J. Godwin, T. Kuiken and M. Booker,  Biological Invasions,  2020.
Since the 1960s conservation efforts have focused on recovering island biodiversity by eradicating invasive rodents. These eradication campaigns have led to considerable conservation gains, particularly for nesting seabirds. However, eradications are complex and lengthy endeavors ...
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Red squirrels to thrive again in Britain as new plan considered to eradicate grey breed

Hudson, W.,  Express,  2020.
RED SQUIRRELS could soon be thriving in Britain again as a new plan to put an end to destructive grey squirrels is being developed. The 150 year reign of the grey squirrel could come to a halt from DNA editing to ensure all future females are born infertile. Researchers at the ...
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Scientists want to hack grey squirrels to death

Cutlack, C.,  Gizmodo,  2020.
Scottish scientists are planning to hack the DNA of the often-hated grey squirrel, in hope that selectively breeding a broken female strain could lead to their eventual eradication from the wild. It's the only way a map of Scotland is likely to turn red in the foreseeable future.
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Scientists behind Dolly the sheep want to edit squirrel DNA to get rid of greys and protect reds UK

Bedoya, D.,  Inforsurhoy,  2020.
The scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep are now targeting grey squirrels in a bid to rid Britain of them altogether.
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First they cloned Dolly the sheep. Now they’re targeting grey squirrels

Leake, J.,  The Times,  2020.
For 150 years they have wreaked havoc on Britain’s woods and wildlife, but the destructive reign of the grey squirrel could soon be over — ended by DNA editing to ensure that all future females are born infertile. Researchers at the Roslin Institute, the genetics laboratory ...
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Dolly the sheep scientists hope DNA editing can wipe out grey squirrels

McLaughlin, M.,  The Scotsman,  2020.
They have been poisoned, shot at, and stumbled into traps laid by those who regard them as a ruinous blight on the country’s woodland and wildlife. But now, the grey squirrel is facing arguably its biggest threat yet, with plans to harness the cutting edge of genetic science ...
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Gene drives : equity demands civility

N. Kofler,  Nature,  565:25. 2020.
At the 14th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity late last year, I witnessed the rapid deterioration of a crucial discussion. It was on the potential of synthetic biology in environmental conservation. What started as heckling turned ...
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Rodent gene drives for conservation: opportunities and data needs

J. Godwin, M. Serr, K. Barnhill-Dilling, D. V. Blondel, P. R. Brown, K. Campbell, J. Delborne, A. L. Lloyd, K. P. Oh, T. A. A. Prowse, R. Saah and P. Thomas,  Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences,  286:20191606. 2019.
Invasive rodents impact biodiversity, human health and food security worldwide. The biodiversity impacts are particularly significant on islands, which are the primary sites of vertebrate extinctions and where we are reaching the limits of current control technologies. Gene ...
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Gene Drive and Thinking Animals

Island Conservation,  ,  2019.
Royden Saah, Island Conservation's GBIRd program manager, recently spoke at the Thinking Animals Summit alongside Leilani Münter, a former professional race car driver and environmental activist. The Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents partnership (GBIRd) is designed for ...
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How gene drives could transform pest control

TEDx Youth,  ,  2019.
In New Zealand, 25 million native birds are killed each year by introduced predators. New Zealand has an ambitious goal to be predator free by the year 2050; however, current pest control methods will not achieve this goal. In this thought-provoking and compelling talk, ...
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The potential of genomics for restoring ecosystems and biodiversity

M. F. Breed, P. A. Harrison, C. Blyth, M. Byrne, V. Gaget, N. J. C. Gellie, S. V. C. Groom, R. Hodgson, J. G. Mills, T. A. A. Prowse, D. A. Steane and J. J. Mohr,  Nature Reviews Genetics,  20:615-628. 2019.
Existing and emerging genomics tools offer the potential to improve the odds of achieving these targets. These tools include population genomics that can improve seed sourcing, meta-omics that can improve assessment and monitoring of restoration outcomes, and genome editing that ...
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Self-destructing mosquitoes and sterilized rodents: the promise of gene drives

M. Scudellari,  Nature,  571:160-162. 2019.
Altering the genomes of entire animal populations could help to defeat disease and control pests, but researchers worry about the consequences of unleashing this new technology.
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Synthetic Biology and the United Nations

H.-E. Lai, C. Canavan, L. Cameron, S. Moore, M. Danchenko, T. Kuiken, Z. Sekeyová and P. S. Freemont,  Trends in Biotechnology,  37:1146-1151. 2019.
Synthetic biology is a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field of science and engineering that aims to redesign living systems through reprogramming genetic information. The field has catalysed global debate among policymakers and publics. Here we describe how synthetic biology ...
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Gene drives and the international biodiversity regime

F. Rabitz,  Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law,  2019.
Gene drives are genetic modifications designed for rapidly diffusing traits throughout a target population. They are currently being proposed as biological control agents to combat, for instance, invasive alien species and disease vectors. They also raise concerns regarding their ...
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Genetic pest management technologies to control invasive rodents

D. Kanavy and D. Threadgill,  Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge,  2019.
Many strategies exist to manage invasive pests on islands, ranging from poison to trapping, with varying degrees of success. Genetic technologies are increasingly being applied to insect pests, but so far, not to vertebrates. We are implementing a genetic strategy to eradicate ...
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Trialling gene drives to control invasive species: what, where and how?

T. Harvey-Samuel, K. J. Campbell, M. Edgington and L. Alphey,  Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge,  2019.
The control of invasive species would be enhanced through the addition of novel, more effective and sustainable pest management methods. One control option yet to be trialled in the field is to deploy transgene-based ‘Gene Drives’: technologies which force the inheritance of ...
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Towards a genetic approach to invasive rodent eradications: assessing reproductive competitiveness between wild and laboratory mice

M. Serr, N. Heard and J. Godwin,  Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge,  2019.
House mice are significant invasive pests, particularly on islands without native mammalian predators. As part of a multi-institutional project aimed at suppressing invasive mouse populations on islands, we aim to create heavily male-biased sex ratios with the goal of causing the ...
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A potential new tool for the toolbox: assessing gene drives for eradicating invasive rodent populations

K. J. Campbell, J. R. Saah, P. R. Brown, J. Godwin, F. Gould, G. R. Howald, A. Piaggio, P. Thomas, D. M. Tompkins, D. Threadgill, J. Delborne, D. Kanavy, T. Kuiken, H. Packard, M. Serr and A. Shiels,  Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge,  2019.
Invasive rodents have significant negative impacts on island biodiversity. All but the smallest of rodent eradications currently rely on island-wide rodenticide applications. Although signifi cant advances have been made in mitigating unintended impacts, rodent eradication on ...
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Stakeholder attitudes towards the use of recombinant technology to manage the impact of an invasive species: Sea Lamprey in the North American Great Lakes

Thresher, REJ, M.; Drake, D. A. R.,  Biological Invasions,  21:575-586. 2019.
Several factors, including: (1) on-going difficulties of cost-effectively managing invasive species; (2) recent successes in using recombinant genetics to suppress mosquito populations; and, (3) developments in gene-drive technology, have re-invigorated interest in using genetic ...
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Conserving New Zealand’s native fauna: a review of tools being developed for the Predator Free 2050 programme

Murphy, ECR, J. C.; Broome, K. G.; Ryan, G. J.; Dowding, J. E.,  Journal of Ornithology,  160:883-892. 2019.
The endemic fauna of New Zealand evolved in the absence of mammalian predators and the introduction of the latter has been devastating. There have been numerous avian extinctions and 80% of the extant native avian taxa are currently threatened or at risk of extinction. Declines ...
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Biocontrol in Australia: Can a carp herpesvirus (CyHV-3) deliver safe and effective ecological restoration?

Kopf, RKB, M.; Finlayson, C. M.; Hodges, K.; Humphries, P.; King, A.; Kingsford, R. T.; Marshall, J.; McGinness, H. M.; Thresher, R.; Vanderplasschen, A.,  Biological Invasions,  21:1857-1870. 2019.
The Australian Government is considering Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) for biocontrol of invasive common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). We review the evidence-base for its potential ecological risks, benefits and effectiveness. Lower carp abundance may boost native fish biomass and ...
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Genetic frontiers for conservation: An assessment of synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation

K. H. Redford, T. Brooks, M., B. W. Nicholas and J. S. A. Macfarlane,  International Union for Conservation of Nature,  2019.
This assessment is the beginning of a process that will lead to the development of an IUCN policy to guide the Union’s Director General, Commissions, and Members. The draft policy will be discussed in many fora before it is brought to vote at the World Conservation Congress in ...
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CRISPR Gene Drive (Complete guide 2019)

Every Cell A Universe,  ,  2018.
Crispr gene drive - malaria cure and a new way to look at conservation.
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EU Adopts Negotiating Position for 2018 Biodiversity Conference

Tsioumani, E,  International Institute for Sustainable Development,  2018.
The Council of the EU calls for increased efforts to fully achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and for the adoption of an ambitious follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, to strengthen implementation of the CBD and its Protocols, as well as of other ...
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Yes we can! Exciting progress and prospects for controlling invasives on islands and beyond

D. Simberloff, B. Keitt, D. Will, N. Holmes, E. Pickett and P. Genovesi,  Western North American Naturalist,  78:942-958. 2018.
Eradication and maintenance management of island invasive species have long histories, and incremental improvements of existing technologies plus occasional novel approaches have led to more challenging targets and increased success rates in certain categories. Many nonnative ...
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A sustainable synthetic biology approach for the control of the invasive golden mussel (Limnoperna fortunei)

M. F. Rebelo, L. F. Afonso, J. A. Americo, L. da Silva, J. L. B. Neto, F. Dondero and Q. Zhang,  PeerJ Preprints,  6:e27164v3. 2018.
The recent development of the CRISPR-Cas9-based gene drive has created the conditions to seriously consider this technology to solve one of the major environmental challenges in biodiversity conservation i.e. the control of invasive species. There is no efficient control method ...
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Gene drive technology considered in the fight to save native animals from feral cats

Smail, S,  ABC News Online,  2018.
Feral cats kill thousands of native animals every minute — now a controversial plan to use gene drive technology as a weapon against them is being considered by the Federal Government
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Summary

Committee on Gene Drive Research in Non-Human Organisms: Recommendations for Responsible,  Journal of Responsible Innovation,  5:S243-S254. 2018.
Scientists have studied gene drives for more than 50 years. The development of a powerful genome editing tool in 2012, CRISPR/Cas9,1 led to recent breakthroughs in gene drive research that built on that half century’s worth of knowledge, and stimulated new discussion of the ...
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Developing gene drive technologies to eradicate invasive rodents from islands

C. M. Leitschuh, D. Kanavy, G. A. Backus, R. X. Valdez, M. Serr, E. A. Pitts, D. Threadgill and J. Godwin,  Journal of Responsible Innovation,  5:S121-S138. 2018.
Gene drive methods of rodent eradication offer an alternative to killing that has the potential to be more species-specific, more humane, and more biologically safe for use around humans. Implementing this technology would involve releasing laboratory-developed engineered mice ...
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Evaluating active genetic options for the control of Sea Lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Thresher, REJ, Michael; Drake, D. Andrew,  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences,  76:1186-1202. 2018.
For more than two decades the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has sought tactics to complement, and potentially replace, the use of barriers and lampricides to control Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes, but thus far without success. This paper examines the potential of modern genetic ...
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Advancing a new toolkit for conservation: From science to policy

Novak, BJM, T.; Phelan, R.,  CRISPR Journal,  1:11-15. 2018.
Climate change and non-native wildlife diseases are exacerbating persistent challenges to biodiversity such as habitat destruction, invasive species and over-harvesting. With these increasing threats there is a pressing need to expand the conservationists' toolbox. CRISPR-Cas9 ...
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Gene Drives Can Wipe Out Entire Species… Or Save Them

Gizmodo,  ,  2017.
Bill Gates and other investors have poured millions into gene drives. So what is the technology and why are scientists worried about it?
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Conservation demands safe gene drive

K. M. Esvelt and N. J. Gemmell,  PLOS Biology,  15:e2003850. 2017.
Here, we explore the risk of accidental spread posed by self-propagating gene drive technologies, highlight new gene drive designs that might achieve better outcomes, and explain why we need open and international discussions concerning a technology that could have global ...
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Could genetic engineering save the Galapagos?

S. S. Hall,  Scientific American,  2017.
Campbell has been working on eradications in the Galápagos since 1997, including a 2006 campaign to remove all the feral goats and donkeys from Floreana. A decade later he’s a project manager with Island Conservation, and the most ambitious project on its agenda is once again ...
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CRISPR’s Gene Drive Could Revive Extinct Species–or Create New Ones | Jennifer Doudna

Big Think,  ,  2017.
A leading gene editing scientist, Jennifer Doudna, discusses gene drive and their applications as well as de-extinction technologies.
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How Genetically Modified Mice Could One Day Save Island Birds

Borel, B,  Audubon,  2017.
The silent black-and-white footage opens on a seemingly tranquil setting: a burrow where an Atlantic Petrel tends to its chick. Then mice begin scurrying in and out of frame. The dark blurs jostle the adult, darting up to the exposed chick and tearing off bloody bites. They’re ...
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A bigger toolbox: Biotechnology in biodiversity conservation

R. T. Corlett,  Trends in Biotechnology,  35:55-65. 2017.
Conservation biology needs a bigger toolbox to meet unprecedented challenges. Genomics, fueled by declining sequencing costs, offers novel tools with increased precision for genetic questions previously answered with a few molecular markers, as well as completely new ...
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Re-Coding for Conservation

Hawkes, A,  Bay Nature Magazine,  2016.
very year, as summer turns to fall, the mouse population on the South Farallon Islands explodes to plague-like densities, numbering 490 mice per acre, among the highest found on any island in the world. The scientists who live and work there describe the assault of the invasive ...
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Opinion: Is CRISPR-based gene drive a biocontrol silver bullet or global conservation threat?

Webber, BLR, S.; Edwards, O. R.,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,  112:10565-10567. 2015.
Scientists have recognized the potential for applying gene drive technologies to the control of invasive species for several years, yet debate about the application of gene drive has been primarily restricted to mosquitoes. Recent developments in clustered regularly interspaced ...
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Genetic control of invasive fish: technological options and its role in integrated pest management

Thresher, REH, K.; Bax, N. J.; Teem, J.; Benfey, T. J.; Gould, F.,  Biological Invasions,  16:1201-1216. 2014.