A non-surgical method to induce sterility would be a useful tool to control feral populations of animals. Our laboratories have experience with approaches aimed at targeting brain cells in vivo with vehicles that deliver a payload of either inhibitory RNAs or genes intended to correct cellular dysfunction. A combination/modification of these methods may provide a useful framework for the design of approaches that can be used to sterilize cats and dogs. For this approach to succeed, it has to meet several conditions: it needs to target a gene essential for fertility. It must involve a method that can selectively silence the gene of interest. It also needs to deliver the silencing agent via a minimally invasive method. Finally, the silencing effect needs to be sustained for many years, so that expansion of the targeted population can be effectively prevented. In this article, we discuss this subject and provide a succinct account of our previous experience with: (i) molecular reagents able to disrupt reproductive cyclicity when delivered to regions of the brain involved in the control of reproduction and (ii) molecular reagents able to ameliorate neuronal disease when delivered systemically using a novel approach of gene therapy.
© 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.