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Can the Herpes Virus be Used to Control Carp?

10 March 2014

AUSTRALIA - Scientists in Australia hope to use the herpes virus to try and wipe out invasive carp that are devastating Murray Darling waterways from Queensland to South Australia.

Although not yet approved for release by the Federal Government, it is hoped the biological control could wipe out about 80 per cent of the carp, reports CourierMail.

Carp are regarded as one of the world’s most damaging pests. They stir up mud, making it difficult for native fish and birds to feed, often out-competing valued local fauna.

NSW Primary Industries Department senior research scientist Dean Gilligan said the virus attacks the gills. It took about six days to incubate and carp died within 24 hours of showing symptoms.

Dr Gilligan, who has been working with the CSIRO on the project, has not yet found any native species that the virus might jump to.

He said it would be impossible to totally remove carp, but their numbers could be reduced to the extent that they did not have an environmental impact.

It would be about five years before testing was complete. A second control featuring daughterless carp through altered genes was also being developed.


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