1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Genetics and Genomics
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A Y-chromosome shredding gene drive for controlling pest vertebrate populations

  1. Thomas AA Prowse  Is a corresponding author
  2. Fatwa Adikusuma
  3. Phillip Cassey
  4. Paul Thomas  Is a corresponding author
  5. Joshua V Ross
  1. The University of Adelaide, Australia
Research Article
  • Cited 15
  • Views 2,502
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Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e41873 doi: 10.7554/eLife.41873

Abstract

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.

Data availability

The empirical data from our study are provided (as source data for Figure 1).

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Thomas AA Prowse

    School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    For correspondence
    thomas.prowse@adelaide.edu.au
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-4093-767X
  2. Fatwa Adikusuma

    School of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Phillip Cassey

    The Centre for Applied Conservation Science and School of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Paul Thomas

    School of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    For correspondence
    paul.thomas@adelaide.edu.au
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Joshua V Ross

    School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-9918-8167

Funding

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

  • 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.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Philipp W Messer, Cornell University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 10, 2018
  2. Accepted: February 13, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 15, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 4, 2019 (version 2)

Copyright

© 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.

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