Liverpool Varsity scientists to use scent to control destructive rodent behaviour

   Nov 8, 5:30 pm

Liverpool (UK), Nov.8 (ANI): Research on the scent signals of mice and rats, by a team at the University of Liverpool and Rothamsted Research, will help inform future rodent-control strategies aimed at reducing the damage they cause to food resources around the world.

The 4.7 million pound research programme has received funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the form of a strategic Longer and Larger award (sLoLa).

These provide internationally-leading research teams with the resources to conduct multidisciplinary research to address major global challenges. Rodents are a serious threat to global food security.

Research suggests that even a five percent reduction in the damage that rodents cause to cereal harvests could help feed one third of all undernourished people worldwide.

Rodents also spread many livestock and human diseases. The team is investigating the scent signal mechanisms that rodents use to navigate around their habitat, communicate with each other, and reproduce. Scientists aim to use these signals to monitor and manipulate rodent behaviour to contribute to new approaches for better control of the destructive nature of rats and mice.

Current rodent control strategies are based on poisons delivered in food or water baits, but there is increasing concern that these chemicals persist in the environment and have negative impacts on non-target species. This new study will reduce the problems with current strategies by providing more efficient ways of targeting rodents, whilst improving the humaneness of control methods.

Professor Jane Hurst, from the University's Institute of Integrative Biology, said: "Rodents cause problems in countries all over the world due to the food they destroy, the disease they spread to livestock and humans, and the damage they cause to the built and rural environment. Rats and mice reproduce very rapidly and prove difficult to track, particularly as they learn quickly how to evade current control strategies."

"Our research on rodent behaviour and communication has helped us to understand the complexity of mammalian scents and their meaning, and the role of learning in modifying behavioural responses. Several types of scent signals will be key to this work, including those involved in sexual attraction and predator avoidance."

"We will be working closely with a wide range of stakeholders from pest control, environmental health, animal welfare and food industries to ensure that we maintain a practical focus and establish clear pathways for subsequent deployment of new strategies." (ANI)

Neuroscientist claims first ever human head transplant may be possible by 2017 Feb 27, 1:43 pm
London, Feb. 27 (ANI): A neuroscientist has claimed that the first ever human head transplant could take place in 2017.
Full Story
IPCC sea-level rise scenarios fall short for high-risk coastal cities Feb 27, 12:56 pm
Washington, Feb. 27 (ANI): According to a new research, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sea-level rise scenarios may not provide complete information for high-risk coastal decision-making and management.
Full Story
Chronic lack of sleep can literally kill you Feb 27, 12:47 pm
Washington, Feb 27 (ANI): If you are not sleeping at nights, it might be good idea to consult your doctor, as a new study claims to have found a link between persistent insomnia and increased inflammation and mortality.
Full Story
Watered-down version of First World War explosive reverses diabetes in mice Feb 27, 11:16 am
Washington, Feb 27 (ANI): A new study has revealed that an agent, which caused munitions factory workers to lose weight inexplicably in the First World War and had originally been used for weight loss more than 70 years ago, reversed type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease in rats.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY