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March 6, 2019 | Patti Mulligan

Sustainability as a Framework for Considering Gene Drive Mice for Invasive Rodent Eradication


Gene drives represent a dynamic and controversial set of technologies with applications that range from mosquito control to the conservation of biological diversity on islands. Currently, gene drives are being developed in mice that may one day serve as an important tool for reducing invasive rodent pests, a key threat to island biodiversity and economies. Gene drives in mice are still in development in laboratories, and wild release of modified mice is likely a distant reality. However, technological changes outpace the existing capacity of regulatory frameworks, and thus require integrated governance frameworks. We suggest sustainability—which gives equal consideration to the environment, economy, and society—as one framework for addressing complexity and uncertainty in the governance of emerging gene drive technologies for invasive species management. We explore the impacts of rodent gene drives on island environments, including potential conservation and restoration of island biodiversity. We outline considerations for rodent gene drives on island economies, including impacts on agricultural and tourism losses, and reductions in biosecurity costs. Finally, we address the social dimension as an essential space for deliberation that will be integral to evaluating the potential deployment of gene drive rodents on islands.
Keywords: gene drives; invasive species management; sustainability

Cite as:

S. Kathleen Barnhill-Dilling, Megan Serr, Dimitri V. Blondel and John Godwin (2019). Sustainability as a Framework for Considering Gene Drive Mice for Invasive Rodent EradicationSustainability. doi: 10.3390/su11051334 Download

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