War on Carp - News just in...

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Dave

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First gene 'species weapon' primed and ready

Scientists are planning to use genetic modification as a weapon to kill off an unwanted species of carp in Australia.

The target is a European carp that is taking over many rivers and streams in the country.

Researchers hope to introduce a gene which will result in the fish producing only male offspring, so that eventually the population will collapse.

Some experts and environmental campaigners, however, have warned that the move could have unforeseen and harmful consequences.

Ron Thresher, from the CSIRO, Australia's national research organisation, is leading the team already carrying out laboratory tests on a gene called "daughterless".

The scientists have found that introducing just one copy of "daughterless" into zebrafish eggs produces young that are 80% male, said New Scientist magazine.

Ultimately, the aim is to insert multiple copies of the gene into carp which will be periodically released into the wild.

The project is funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, a government effort to save the dying Murray River.

The European carp now make up to 90% of the fish biomass in the Murray-Darling river system, leaving little room for threatened native species. Before the plan goes ahead, however, the researchers will have to be satisfied there is no chance of the gene transferring to other species.

Pete Riley, GM campaigns director at Friends of the Earth, said: "This sounds like technology that needs a long, long time in the laboratory before any thought is given to it being used in practice. The potential for this to go wrong has to be looked at very carefully."

- Dave
 

Geoff P

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To be honest, the way I have seen the Australians behave at times shouldn't this gene be introduced into the humans in australia to try and eradicate them.

thumbsup.gif Geoff

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Newt

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Unfortunately, OZ has the same attitude as parts of the US.

Water quality for whatever reason can become poor so most species can't even live. Carp can often live and thrive.

Thus a lake that is heavily overloaded with carp and so they are blamed for the problem.

Usually if someone can reason with the authorities and first get the water quality issues dealt with and then introduce a decent pred population back into the improved fishery along with the usual other species, things will balance out in a few years.

However, it isn't an easy task.

Newt Vail
 
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