Project number: 2017-148
Project Status:
Completed
Budget expenditure: $80,000.00
Principal Investigator: Claus Wedekind
Organisation: Wedekind Gutachten
Project start/end date: 23 May 2018 - 30 Jan 2019
Contact:
FRDC

Need

A review of genetic biocontrol options for carp in Australia will assist the Science Advisory Group (SAG) of the National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) and other decision-makers to identify suitable techniques or approaches for potential inclusion in the NCCP. At its third meeting, the SAG reviewed two applications to prepare genetic biocontrol technologies for use on carp in Australia. One application focussed on the ‘Daughterless Carp’ technology, while the other concentrated on the Trojan Y Chromosome technique. After discussing these applications, SAG members agreed that the group lacked sufficient knowledge to make a well-informed decision, and requested that NCCP management procure an expert review of genetic biocontrol technologies to clarify decision-making on research investment.
Most of the Australian experts with knowledge in this area already have considerable intellectual property invested in a particular technique. To ensure an independent perspective, NCCP management is therefore seeking an international expert to conduct the review.

Objectives

1. Review of genetic biocontrol options for carp in Australia

Final report

Author: Claus Wedekind
Final Report • 2019-10-13 • 1.72 MB
2017-148 final report.pdf

Summary

This study was undertaken by Wedekind Gutachten, Switzerland. Potentially synergistic genetic biocontrol technologies can be grouped into those that do not involve engineered DNA sequences and those that do. The former include the “sterile male” and the “Trojan Y chromosome” technologies. The latter include genetic constructs that lead males to produce only male fertile offspring while daughters are either sterile or non-viable (“daughterless carp”), or to various types of engineered gene-drive technologies that would be sexually propagated but could still reach 100% inheritance. The high inheritance would allow them to spread even if the introduced engineered DNA sequence reduced the fitness of the host, for example by killing female offspring or rendering them infertile. Some gene-drive technologies could therefore lead to the extinction of a problem population. However, unintended spread of the engineered drive sequence beyond the target population is possible. Worst-case scenarios of applying gene-drive technologies may therefore include the extinction of an entire species, and, if gene flow is possible as is the case in many cyprinid fishes, of related species. 
Considering the biological effectiveness, the relevant logistical factors of each techniques, the risks involved, and their likely public acceptability, the potentially most appropriate technique for deployment against carp in Australia is the Trojan Y chromosome technology, specifically the production and release of mirror-type sex-reversed YY individuals, combined with all measures that increase the survival and fecundity of these stocked animals. 

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