Scalability of genetic biocontrols for eradicating invasive alien mammals
CRISPR-based gene drives offer novel solutions for controlling invasive alien species, which could ultimately extend eradication efforts to continental scales. Gene drives for suppressing invasive alien vertebrates are now under development. Using a landscape-scale individual-based model, we present the first estimates of times to eradication for long-lived alien mammals. We show that demography and life-history traits interact to determine the scalability of gene drives for vertebrate pest eradication. Notably, optimism around eradicating smaller-bodied pests (rodents and rabbits) with gene-drive technologies does not easily translate into eradication of larger-bodied alien species (cats and foxes).
Birand, A., Cassey, P., Ross, J. V., Thomas, P. Q., & Prowse, T. A. (2022). Scalability of genetic biocontrols for eradicating invasive alien mammals.