Status: In Progress

Start date: 1 July 2021

Completion date: 30 June 2024

Project code: A-030

Species: Mice


Current invasive mammal pest management is based on several management techniques including baiting, trapping, fencing and for rabbits; viral biocontrol. Many of these methods rely on costly sustained resources to accomplish a reduction of impacts. There are currently no effective management landscape options for devastating mouse plagues
Gene drive is a technology that aims to manipulate reproductive processes to disseminate a gene across a population. In terms of biocontrol, the gene selected would suppress the rate of reproduction and thus the overall spread and impact of the pest population.

Key achievements


  • A genetic biocontrol strategy for the suppression of mice.
  • Demonstrated ‘proof of concept’ that could be used to suppress invasive vertebrate populations in Australia.
  • An online analytical tool to assess the feasibility and risk of deploying gene drive technologies.


  • World-first breakthrough genetic biocontrol technology for Australia.
  • Key technology for the fight against mouse plagues in Australia.

Project team

Professor Paul Thomas

Project Lead

Dr Owain Edwards


Joshua Ross

University of Adelaide

Thomas Prowse

University of Adelaide

Rahul Rane


Dr Tanja Strive


A/Prof Phill Cassey

University of Adelaide

Project partners

Scientific publications & reports

Gierusa L, Birand A, Buntinga MD, Godahewab GI, Pilt S, Oh K, Piaggio AJ, Threadgill DW, Godwini J, Edwards O, Cassey P, Rossk JV, 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 P, Ross JV, Thomas PQ and Prowse TAA (2022) Scalability of genetic biocontrol for eradicating invasive alien mammals. Neobiota 74, 93-103.