Evaluating active genetic options for the control of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Laurentian Great Lakes.
For more than two decades the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has sought tactics to complement, and potentially replace, the use of barriers and lampricides to control sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Great Lakes, but thus far without success. This paper examines the potential of modern genetic technology to suppress these invasive populations. We identified six recombinant options that appeared to be moderately to highly feasible, most of which were judged by an expert panel as extremely low or low risk, and for which research and development was broadly supported by stakeholders. The two options judged to overall best combine high efficacy and low risks were a Mendelian "sex ratio drive" and genetically modifying a prey species combined with killing or sterilizing sea lamprey that fed on it. Core issues regarding use of genetic biocontrol in the Great Lakes include technical problems associated with maintaining a sea lamprey brood line, information gaps for most options, the extent of broader public support, and the extent and nature of national and international consultation required in making decisions about control options.