Development of an Engineered Disseminated Neoplasia to Control Invasive Mussels in Reservoirs

Project ID: 22057
Principal Investigator: Sherri Pucherelli
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2022, 2023 and 2024
Keywords: None

Research Question

Is it possible to utilize cutting-edge methods of cell culture, genetic engineering, and genomic modification to engineer quagga and zebra mussel disseminated neoplasia cells to control populations and reduce impacts to reservoirs and hydropower plants?
We hypothesize this research will identify the methods needed to overcome the challenges associated with cell division and gene transfer in dreissenid mussels. The initial focus will be on developing these methods and if successful, controlled efficacy and specificity testing will begin in the laboratory. The research will be focused on accomplishing the following objectives:
o Identify methods for genetic modification of cultured mussel cells
o Create immortalized/ transformed cultured mussel cells
o Examine methods of introduction, engraftment, and dissemination of mussel cancer cells in live mussels
o Determine time-course of dissemination, associated pathology, and death
o Examine impacts on non-target species
o Explore regulatory requirements

Need and Benefit

This project will develop a genetic control method that will only effect zebra and quagga mussel populations. This method has the potential to achieve reservoir scale control, because the contagious cancer will naturally spread through the population without significant additional effort. Sherri Pucherelli (the project PI) is the Invasive Mussel Research Coordinator. Development of open water control methods was also identified as a top priority in the Invasive Mussel Research Roadmap.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20