Developing tools and knowledge for genetic biocontrol of invasive bivalves

Aquatic invasive species such as the Quagga and Zebra mussels are harmful to the local biodiversity, but they also generate high costs to contain and manage their spread, for instance in water treatment and power plants. In this research topic, we are developing tools and knowledge for potential genetic biocontrol of invasive species in Switzerland.

Currently, we are focusing on inferring what kind of sex determination system do the invasive Quagga and Zebra mussels have. To do this, we are sequencing and comparing the genomes of males and females to uncover potential sex chromosomes or sex-linked genes. This information will be crucial to develop appropriate genetic biocontrol measures in the future.

In parallel, we are optimising the rearing of Quagga and Zebra mussels in the lab to develop genome editing techniques.