Thursday, March 28, 2019

A tick-reduction experiment in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard

Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:43 am (PDT) . Posted by: 

"Rick Laferriere" ri_lymeinfo 

*Mice Against Ticks: an experimental community-guided effort to prevent 
tick-borne disease by altering the shared environment *
Buchthal J, Evans SW, Lunshof J, Telford SR 3rd, Esvelt KM.
/Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological 
Sciences/, 2019 May 13;374(1772):20180105.


Mice Against Ticks is a community-guided ecological engineering project 
that aims to prevent tick-borne disease by using CRISPR-based genome 
editing to heritably immunize the white-footed mice (/Peromyscus 
leucopus/) responsible for infecting many ticks in eastern North 
America. Introducing antibody-encoding resistance alleles into the local 
mouse population is anticipated to disrupt the disease transmission 
cycle for decades.

Technology development is shaped by engagement with community members 
and visitors to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, 
including decisions at project inception about which types of disease 
resistance to pursue. This engagement process has prompted the 
researchers to use only white-footed mouse DNA if possible, meaning the 
current project will not involve gene drive. Instead, engineered mice 
would be released in the spring when the natural population is low, a 
plan unlikely to increase total numbers above the normal maximum in autumn.

Community members are continually asked to share their suggestions and 
concerns, a process that has already identified potential ecological 
consequences unanticipated by the research team that will likely affect 
implementation. As an early example of CRISPR-based ecological 
engineering, Mice Against Ticks aims to start small and simple by 
working with island communities whose mouse populations can be lastingly 
immunized without gene drive.

*Free, full text*:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments.