2022 journal article
Leveraging a natural murine meiotic drive to suppress invasive populations
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Invasive rodents are a major cause of environmental damage and biodiversity loss, particularly on islands. Unlike insects, genetic biocontrol strategies including population-suppressing gene drives with biased inheritance have not been developed in mice. Here, we demonstrate a gene drive strategy (tCRISPR) that leverages super-Mendelian transmission of the t haplotype to spread inactivating mutations in a haplosufficient female fertility gene (Prl). Using spatially explicit individual-based in silico modeling, we show that tCRISPR can eradicate island populations under a range of realistic field-based parameter values. We also engineer transgenic tCRISPR mice that, crucially, exhibit biased transmission of the modified t haplotype and Prl mutations at levels our modeling predicts would be sufficient for eradication. This is an example of a feasible gene drive system for invasive alien rodent population control.