Genetic biocontrol technology for mouse management


This project will assess three innovative gene drive strategies based on selective advantage of sperm that carry a population modification trait.

These meiotic or non-homing gene drives leverage recent advances in CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and offer a much more feasible alternative to the current focus on homing gene drives but have not yet been developed in vertebrates.

Importantly, the genetic components for each strategy have already been validated in cultured cells. Meiotic gene drives work by biasing the inheritance of a deleterious trait which is spread through natural sexual reproduction leading to species specific suppression or eradication of target mammal populations.

Meiotic gene drives are both a lower risk and faster genetic biocontrol approach for mammal pests.


In progress


This project will aim to identify at least one genetic biocontrol strategy for population suppression of invasive mice and develop an on-line analytical tool that validates vertebrate pests as viable targets for genetic biocontrol, with mouse plagues in Australian agricultural settings as the first target to be evaluated.

Project Leader

Professor Paul Thomas
Project Team
  1. Paul Thomas University of Adelaide
  2. Owain Edwards (co-leader), CSIRO
  3. Phill Cassey (co-leader), University of Adelaide
  4. Joshua Ross, University of Adelaide
  5. Thomas Prowse, University of Adelaide
  6. Rahul Rane, CSIRO
  7. Tanja Strive, CSIRO
Project Partners
  1. NSW DPI
  2. CSIRO
  3. University of Adelaide

This project receives funding the NSW Department of Primary Industries Mouse Control Package


Scientific Publications:

  • Gierusa, L.,  Birandc, A.,  Buntinga, MD., Godahewab, GI., Piltza, SG., Ohe, KP., Piaggiog, AJ., Threadgill DW, Godwini, J.,  Edwards, O., Cassey, P., Rossk, J.V., Prowse TAA., and Thomas PQ. (2022) Leveraging a natural murine meiotic drive to suppress invasive populations PNAS 119(46) e2213308119
  • Birand, A., Cassey, P., Ross. JV., Russell, JC., Thomas P. and Prowse, TAA (2022) Gene drives for vertebrate pest control: Realistic spatial modelling of eradication probabilities and times for island mouse populations. Molecular Ecology 31: 1907-1923
  • Birand, A., Cassey, OP., Ross, JV., Thomas PQ and Prowse TAA (2022) Scalability of genetic biocontrol for eradicating invasive alien mammals. Neobiota 74: 93-103