Queensland scientist – a gene to eliminate female toads
Just in case you haven’t caught up with this new approach…
….The Professor of Developmental Biology at the University of Queensland, Peter Koopman, is working on a ‘daughterless gene‘ that ensures female toads – who lay thousands of egges at a time -only give birth to males, meaning cane toads could ‘breed themselves out of existence’.
“The strategy that we’re working on is a genetic strategy based on years of working in mice. So we study how mammals determine sex,” Professor Koopman says.
“What we want to do is transfer that into the cane toads so that …. they give birth to tadpoles where the males stay male but the female tadpoles sex reverse to become males, so the population ends up becoming all male, and they can’t find a mate and the population dies out.”
This would be one part of the “multi-pronged attack on the cane toads…. in conjunction with other things, trapping, toxins or what-have-you,” he says.
The research is in its very early stages, where they have been studying the mechanisms involved in how the embryo determines its sex and they are now in a position where they can take those findings and try to find out whether similar genes are involved in the toad, and start working on those.
Professor Koopman says he is confident one of the nation’s worst pests will not even suffer through this strategy.