Gene-drive is a pest control method currently being tested by scientists using next generation technology. The first pest used for the experiments were mosquitoes but recently rodents have joined the list. There are various methods used in pest control in Sydney but many are hoping that these tests will be successful.
The researchers are from Scotland and they said that they have now discovered two methods by which to interrupt the fertility cycle of the female mice and rats. The used the same approach they did when they were testing to eradicated mosquitoes that are infected with malaria.
With gene-drive, the genes are engineered in such a way that the normal biological processes of the pests are overridden. The result is that every offspring of the pest will have two copies of the gene. It is common for animals to get a single copy from their mother while the second one is coming from their father.
The technique used may be powerful but there are a lot of controversies surrounding it. This is because many are concerned about genetically altering organisms which can have an irreversible effect on the natural cycle of the ecosystem.
Many are concerned about these so-called mutant species thus they are campaigning a ban for the gene drive. According to the Roslin Institute’s University of Edinburgh member, Bruce Whitelaw, the banning the tests are considered short sighted.
If the research is to be prevented, they will never be able to understand fully and they will never learn how the method can be used in a good way that can positively benefit the society.
He added that it is important to have full understanding of the possibilities of gene drive so they know how to control it. At the end of the day, it is crucial that people decide using their knowledge rather than relying on fear alone.
The main reason why they believe it would be a good option as pest control in Sydney is because of the durable effect regardless if it is a mosquito or a rodent. They also expect the method to be cheap if they are to start with a small number of pests first.