Gene Drive Supplement

Australians Welcome Using Gene Drive to Manage Feral Cats

July 27, 2022

In Australia, feral cats kill about 3.2 million mammals, 1.2 million birds, 1.9 million reptiles, and 250,000 frogs daily, most of which are native species. Feral cats have been the main driver of 27 animal extinctions in Australia, including the Macquarie parakeet, and are one of the most economically costly invasive species to manage. New genetic technologies such as gene drives could help address the rise of invasive species and drive down their populations.

Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) conducted a survey among 3,800 people across Australia to understand the public perceptions of using gene drive on feral cats. The survey results found that 86 percent of people moderately to strongly support using gene drive technology to manage invasive feral cat species in their local areas. In contrast, 11 percent indicated little or does not support the use of gene drive in their areas.

Dr. Owain Edwards, CSIRO researcher in Environmental and Synthetic Genomics said that Australia was playing a leading role in the global effort to develop gene drive technologies. Dr. Edwards added that the study is an important step forward in informing policymakers, the public, and the research community about societal views on the development of possible new synthetic biology applications in Australia given the possible use of gene drive technology for other pests, including feral pigs, rabbits, and mice.

For more details, read the article Mirage News.

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