Sterile Male Release Technique (SMRT) Using X-Ray Irradiation as a Potential Novel Method for Managing Invasive Quagga Mussels--A Laboratory Experiment

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A laboratory experiment was designed to evaluate the potential of X-Ray irradiation as a method to control invasive quagga mussels by producing sterile males. We used the range of exposures 0 (control), 600, 3000, and 5000 rads to determine an optimal level that damages the gametes without being lethal. The results demonstrated that X-Ray treated quagga mussels had lower developmental success than the control. Adult quagga mussels were highly tolerant of X-Ray irradiation with high survival rates (> 95%) after treatment. Mussels from all treatments produced motile sperms and these sperms were able to bind and fuse with eggs. There was a decrease in sperm binding between treatments, which are most likely due to decreased motility and not an irradiationinduced deficiency of sperm binding mechanisms. Surprisingly, fertilized eggs in all treatments were able to divide and produce swimming trochophores. In terms of larval formation and developmental success, irradiation appears to decrease development between zygote and trochophore stage. However, a subpopulation of embryos successfully formed trochophores even at the highest X-Ray dosage. Therefore, the current experiment was not able to produce completely sterile males, even at the highest irradiation of 5000 rads in a single 15 minute session, which is at the prescribed level of human cancer radiation therapy spread over numerous treatments spanning a month. The current experiment did not find an X-Ray dose leading to generate 100% sterile males. Even a higher dose if found, may not be realistic for implementation. Therefore, irradiation may not be an effective tool to manage quagga mussels in open waters, and irradiation generates concerns, such as releasing potential mutant mussels into natural waters.


Dreissena mussels; quagga mussels; North america; Laboratory experiment; X-ray irradiation


Animal Sciences | Aquaculture and Fisheries | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Life Sciences | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology



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