Log In

Reset Password
BERMUDA | RSS PODCAST

Potential solution to our lionfish problem

Dear Sir,

We all know that the lionfish species that has invaded Bermuda waters is a problem for all of us. Many have been working diligently to find a solution. These solutions involve, mostly, catch-and-remove sorts of approaches. But there is another way that will be possible in the near future.

This is CRISPR gene-drive technology: a gene-editing procedure that allows scientists to change any gene, or even part of one, and pass that change through to future generations.

This is not possible to implement with lionfish yet, but it soon will be. Scientists have already created a gene drive in mosquitoes that wiped out the malaria-carrying ability in 100 per cent of the next generation. That amount of success is pretty much unheard of in nature. It is an amazing, and pretty scary, advance in science.

With the spectre of this daunting scientific breakthrough before us, it behooves us to start talking about it now.

There will be many issues to tackle, but the promise this technology holds is nothing short of astounding. Potentially, we could eliminate all female lionfish very quickly, perhaps in a generation. This is a short time, given lionfish reproduction cycles.

There would be many issues to consider and precautions that would need to be taken. Something like this would need to be introduced very carefully. We would need to ask, “What could possibly go wrong?” And then ensure we do no harm. Scientists are talking about making gene drives that self-destruct after several generations, for instance.

I would be interested in discussing this CRISPR idea with any and all stakeholders, focus groups, government representatives and/or private citizens.

LANE MARTIN

Warwick

Ocean pest: invasive lionfish are a major threat to native marine species

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 20, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated May 20, 2016 at 9:10 am)

Potential solution to our lionfish problem

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon