MOUSE BIRTH CONTROL - AUSTRALIA
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Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 00:27:47 +0800
From: M. Wegner

[Paraphrased from the message received -- Mod CHC]

According to a local newspaper report, Australian scientists from CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization] have devised a method of birth control for laboratory mice. They claim to have inserted a protein involved in mouse reproduction into mousepox [ectromelia] virus. When the mouse becomes infected with this virus, temporary infertility results. More research is needed to ensure the virus does not affect species other than mice.

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M. Wegner
e-mail:

[Mouse "plagues" occur periodically in Australia and do many millions of dollars of damage to grain crops. This or any other method of rodent control would be welcome economic news. Although success has been claimed only for experiments with laboratory mice, one assumes the technique would be useful for field mice. If I recall correctly, the mice responsible for these "plagues" are house mice, _Mus musculus_, which are not native to Australia but which have been associated with human habitation, world-wide, for thousands of years (see Leviticus). I wonder whether Australian non-human predators have come to rely on these animals as a food source. No matter really; the damage done by these mice is extraordinary and must be addressed as soon as possible. It's a "them or us" outlook. Delivery of a gene that produces a protein to which the vertebrate produces antibody would be one way to bring about mouse birth control. Other aspects of application of such a system to field use is another issue altogether, which the Australian Government surely must be discussing. -- Mod CHC]
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MOUSE BIRTH CONTROL - AUSTRALIA (02)
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Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 12:04:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rachel Nowak

For more information about the mouse birth control virus see the lead story in the 26 April issue of New Scientist. Alternatively you can look at the New Scientist website

http://www.newscientist.com

although the news stories will change tomorrow (Thursday).

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Rachel Nowak
Washington Bureau Chief
New Scientist
e-mail:

[Great. It's already old news. As Ogden Nash said: "Progress might have
been all right once, but it has gone on too long." -- Mod CHC]
.......................................................................chc