Using Genetic Manipulation to Control Invasive Species

Project ID: 1746
Principal Investigator: Jacque Keele
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

Could it be possible to use CRISPR and gene drive to eradicate Dreissenid mussels in the Western United States? This is a question that should be considered carefully. In the last year, CRISPR and gene drive technologies has been front page news on many scientific journals. One area where this technology is being considered is in the control of invasive species. In fact, the National Academies of Science (NAS) has just issued its recommendations on responsible conduct for this technology. The goal of this project is to take their recommendations and apply them to the theoretical eradication of quagga mussels with this technology. The NAS recommends a phased approach to this technology with the phase 0 being the development of a research plan and target outcomes. The use of this new technology to control invasive organisms is going to happen, and it behooves researchers at Reclamation to be on the front lines in understanding both the process of creating transgenic organisms and the regulatory implications for the organisms release into the environment.

Need and Benefit

Need: The CRISPR and gene drive technology will change how invasive species are managed. In the coming years it is important that Reclamation researchers understand the power of this technology and how it could be applied to the control of quagga mussel populations. There is a need for this research because at some point in the near future a researcher is going to approach Reclamation with the idea of controlling an invasive organism with this technology. We need to understand how this technology works, and the regulatory implications for when it is used. Because this is a new technology it is important to understand the potential risks associated with it.
Benefit: This project will help complete mission related actions better, faster, and cheaper because if it is possible to control quagga mussels with this technology it will be of great benefit. Because we will already have the background knowledge and understanding of this technology it will enable us to better understand any future uses of the CRISPR and gene drive technologies.
Urgency: If this project is not funded we will miss out on the opportunity to spend time in understanding how the technology could be applied to the control of quagga mussels. This technology could be an important control method for invasive organisms. Also, it is important to understand the regulatory issues associated with the release of transgenic organisms into the environment.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Using Genetic Manipulation to Control Invasive Species (final, PDF, 1.1MB)
By Jacque Keele
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Using Genetic Manipulation to Control Invasive Species (final, PDF, 1.1MB)
By Jacque Keele
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


Return to Research Projects

Last Updated: 4/4/17