Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Virus-vectored immunocontraception for control of wild rabbits: identification of target antigens and construction of recombinant viruses

MK Holland and RJ Jackson

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 6(5) 631 - 642
Published: 1994


The need to control animal populations arises in many situations in the world from a variety of motives. Present control strategies are almost universally based on lethal procedures. Increasingly, there is dissatisfaction with such approaches from many different perspectives. In response to these concerns, the concept of controlling populations of pest species through control of their fertility has been mooted. Successful examples of this approach exist in cases of small, discrete pest populations but application of this to a widely distributed species over a broad geographical area has not yet been achieved. In this article, we report on a new approach to fertility control, virus-vectored immunocontraception, and discuss its applicability to control of wild rabbit populations. Particular emphasis is placed on the strategy for selection of a target molecule capable of inducing an immunocontraceptive response and on how the gene encoding such a molecule might be engineered into the myxoma virus for distribution into the population. The fact that the procedures for antigen identification and the viral engineering methods used are, to varying extents, generic means that the broad principles of this approach are applicable in other species.

© CSIRO 1994

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