Self-replicating gene drives that modify sex ratios or infer a fitness cost could be used to control populations of invasive alien species. The targeted deletion of Y sex chromosomes using CRISPR technology offers a new approach for sex bias that could be incorporated within gene-drive designs. We introduce a novel gene-drive strategy termed Y-CHromosome deletion using Orthogonal Programmable Endonucleases (Y-CHOPE), incorporating a programmable endonuclease that 'shreds' the Y chromosome, thereby converting XY males into fertile XO females. Firstly, we demonstrate that the CRISPR/Cas12a system can eliminate the Y chromosome in embryonic stem cells with high efficiency (c. 90 %). Next, using stochastic, individual-based models of a pest mouse population, we show that a Y-shredding drive that progressively depletes the pool of XY males could effect population eradication through mate limitation. Our molecular and modelling data suggest that a Y-CHOPE gene drive could be a viable tool for vertebrate pest control.
- Phillip Cassey
- Paul Thomas
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Philipp W Messer, Cornell University, United States
© 2019, Prowse et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.