Genetic control of invasive fish: technological options and its role in integrated pest management

Author: Ronald E. Thresher, Keith Hayes, Nicholas J. Bax, John Teem, Tillmann J. Benfey, Fred Gould

Publication: Biol Invasions

Publication Date: 2013

Abstract: Genetic options for the control of invasive fishes were recently reviewed and synthesized at a 2010 international symposium, held in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, USA. The only option currently available ‘‘off-the-shelf’’ is triploidy, which can be used to produce sterile males for a release program analogous to those widely and successfully used for biological control of insect pests. However, the Trojan Y and several recombinant options that heritably distort pest population sex ratios are technologically feasible, are at or are close to proof-of-concept stage and are potentially much more effective than sterile male release programs. All genetic options at this stage require prolonged stocking programs to be effective, though gene drive systems are a potential for recombinant approaches. They are also likely to differ in their current degree of social acceptability, with chromosomal approaches (triploidy and Trojan Y) likely to be the most readily acceptable to the public and least likely to require changes in legislative or policy settings to be implemented. Modelling also suggests that the efficacy of any of these genetic techniques is enhanced by, and in turn non-additively enhance, conventional methods of pest fish control.

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