Status: Completed

Start date: 1 July 2020

Completion date: 16 January 2023

Project code: P01-B-005

Species: Pest fish


A proposed alternative to gene-drive strategies for controlling invasive vertebrate pests is a novel genetic biocontrol system – which this project sought to develop and assess for efficacy. This alternative, called a ‘self-stocking incompatible male system’, is safer and more controllable.
In this system, genetically modified male and female fish (‘SSIMS males and females’) are released into the wild. When they mate with each other, they can only generate male offspring; and when males mate with wild invasive fish, the offspring are not viable. So even when SSIMS females produce offspring with wild males, they produce (and increase the numbers of) SSIMS males, eventually reducing wild invasive fish numbers.

Key achievements


  • Successfully demonstrated the validity of a component for functional SSIMS in model species.


  • New strategic knowledge that relates to the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) framework.
  • Highly relevant findings available for translation of technology to priority species such as carp and cane toads.
  • Increased appetite for funding and research into gene drive as pest management tool.


  • Increased effectiveness of resource allocation for future gene drive RD&E guided by information the proof-of-concept research generated.
  • Increased scientific knowledge and research capacity associated with gene drive technology for vertebrate species.

Project team

Dr Mark Tizard

Project Lead

Dr Tanja Strive


Dr Agus Sunarto


Dr Maciej Maselko

Maquarie University

Professor Roger Chung

Maquarie University

Dr Chandran Pfitzner

Maquarie University

Dr Marco Morsh

Maquarie University

Project partners

This project received funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).