Biological Invasions

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1201–1216 | Cite as

Genetic control of invasive fish: technological options and its role in integrated pest management

  • Ronald E. ThresherEmail author
  • Keith Hayes
  • Nicholas J. Bax
  • John Teem
  • Tillmann J. Benfey
  • Fred Gould
Original Paper


Genetic options for the control of invasive fishes were recently reviewed and synthesized at a 2010 international symposium, held in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, USA. The only option currently available “off-the-shelf” is triploidy, which can be used to produce sterile males for a release program analogous to those widely and successfully used for biological control of insect pests. However, the Trojan Y and several recombinant options that heritably distort pest population sex ratios are technologically feasible, are at or are close to proof-of-concept stage and are potentially much more effective than sterile male release programs. All genetic options at this stage require prolonged stocking programs to be effective, though gene drive systems are a potential for recombinant approaches. They are also likely to differ in their current degree of social acceptability, with chromosomal approaches (triploidy and Trojan Y) likely to be the most readily acceptable to the public and least likely to require changes in legislative or policy settings to be implemented. Modelling also suggests that the efficacy of any of these genetic techniques is enhanced by, and in turn non-additively enhance, conventional methods of pest fish control.


Biological control Daughterless Genetic control Insect Recombinant Triploidy Trojan Y 



We sincerely thank Anne Kapuscinski and Leah Sharpe for organising, and the Minnesota Sea Grant Program for supporting the international symposium on which this paper is based, and the diverse participants in the symposium, whose insightful comments on the emerging technology greatly facilitated development of the ideas expressed in this paper. We also thank P. Sorenson for comments on the IPM section of the paper, as well as the extremely helpful comments of four anonymous journal refereees. Financial support was provided by 1R01AI091980-01A1 to FG.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald E. Thresher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keith Hayes
    • 3
  • Nicholas J. Bax
    • 1
  • John Teem
    • 4
  • Tillmann J. Benfey
    • 5
  • Fred Gould
    • 6
  1. 1.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric ResearchHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Invasive Animal Cooperative Research CenterHobartAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Mathematics and StatisticsHobartAustralia
  4. 4.Division of AquacultureFlorida Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesTallahasseeUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  6. 6.Department of EntomologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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