A live edge woodlice that has been genetically engineered to survive in an environmentally controlled laboratory will be released in New Zealand this week to help control the pest.
Key points:The new species is expected to be released at the end of the month to help combat a disease that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths a yearThere is also a growing concern that the disease is spreading from Australia to New ZealandThe World Health Organisation is investigating whether the new species can help fight the disease that is spreading across the globeThe new live edge species was created by the Australian company Live Edge and will be available at the Australian Museum in Hobart on February 2.
Its name means “lucky” in the languages of the world’s aboriginal peoples.
It is a rare and unique species, and scientists say it will be an excellent target for the new Australian-designed insecticide.
“We know it’s the most common pest in New South Wales, it’s one of the largest in the world,” Dr Peter Mertz, a senior research scientist at the University of New South South Wales and lead author on a paper published in the journal Molecular Ecology, told the ABC.
“So it’s a huge population, but it’s also one of our most successful breeding efforts to date.”
Its a really exciting time to be working on this.
“The live edge is able to withstand up to four times the level of the chemical used to kill the most harmful of the species, which is the woodlouse, but scientists say the new liveedge will be able to be more selective.”
It’s a good idea to start in the middle of the field, where the population density is low, because you can use it as a test site and test different formulations, and also to see if you can really get the population in a better balance,” Dr Mertzz said.
Dr Mertzi said there was still a long way to go before the new breed of live edge could be released, but said the new design could be adapted to other species.”
There are several possible breeding techniques, such as using it in combination with other pests or with another herbicide like glyphosate,” he said.”
But if you’re looking for a new insecticide, it should be used on a population of this size.
“Live edge is an extremely rare species, only known from two locations in the Americas.
It has been found in Australia and in New Guinea, and is the first species to be genetically engineered in this way.”
In Australia, we’re looking at a few other species that we’re trying to create to see how we can combine this technology with other species,” Dr Zohra Khan, who led the research on live edge, said.
Professor Khan said the Australian researchers were hoping to release a second species next month.”
The hope is that we will have the ability to use these new traits in the next two years, because we have so many more species that need to be controlled.
“Professor Khan told the BBC he believed there were several species of live edges, but that it was the first one in Australia.”
They’re extremely rare, so it’s quite remarkable that we have them,” he told the broadcaster.”
I’m a bit sceptical about it, but we need to see what happens, because it could be very useful in the future.