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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 1 December 2005
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Dr Warwick Grant and Dr Doug Eckery are investigating the effects of a toxin (poison) on possum fertility. The toxin affects a hormone called Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH). This hormone starts off a cascade of biological reactions needed for a normal reproductive cycle. If this hormone is affected, the possum becomes infertile, or a lot less fertile. This work is still in the research phase, and is being carried out by scientists at AgResearch.

Transcript

Dr Warwick Grant (AgResearch)
The hormone that we are targeting is called gondatrophin releasing hormone, or GnRH, and its produced by the pituitary, and it’s the hormone that kicks off the whole reproductive cascade.

Dr Doug Eckery AgResearch)
This GnRH is a naturally produced hormone, and we know now where it acts in the possums, and we know pretty well what it does. If we were to treat a group of possums with one of these hormone toxins or GnRH toxin, the hope would be that it would shut her down. It would make her sterile, so that she wouldn’t actually cycle anymore.

Dr Warwick Grant AgResearch)
The trick here is going to be to make sure that the toxin is specifically targeted to the reproductive system. And so all the possums will know is its suddenly much less fertile otherwise, it wont notice any difference at all.