Rodent Control With Contraceptive Baits
The purpose of this project is to explore and develop different technologies in contraceptive vaccines with the intent of controlling overpopulated species of mammals.
What is Contraceptive Vaccine?
Contraceptive vaccines or immunocontraceptives are agents that induce antibodies against the animal's own reproductive system thereby preventing fertilization.
We have used the antigenic properties of the sperm-specific antigen lactate dehydrogenase-C in the development of new vaccine technologies. Other sperm antigens are being considered.
We are taking a three pronged approach to developing rodent contraceptive baits. In each case we are using as the antigenic component the sper-specific form of the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase(LDH-C) or a peptide from the protein. In humans, when antibodies form against this protein it is known to cause infertility. In the present case are using mouse LDH-C in order to develop a species-specific bait.
Advantages of using a contraceptive vaccine for mammalian control:
More effective in the long term, non-poisonous, species-specific, harmless to the local environment and environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and humane.
Current Research Progress:
Transgenic plants were created that express large quantities of the antigens. Extracts from these plants were orally amdministered to mice producing a strong immmune response in the animals. Fertility is currently being tested.
The LDH-C and peptide genes were cloned in an appropriate plasmid DNA and the expression in mammalian cells was confirmed. The plasmids were transformed in Salmonella and then administered to mice orally. The mice showed a strong immune response against the protein. Fertility trials are taking place.
Other Potential Applications of the Immunocontraceptive Technology:
Urban deer, rabbits, foxes, opposums, African Elephants.