Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title





Centre for Ecosystem Management / School of Science




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2020


Duncan, B. J., Koenders, A., Burnham, Q., & Lohr, M. T. (2020). Mus musculus populations in Western Australia lack VKORC1 mutations conferring resistance to first generation anticoagulant rodenticides: Implications for conservation and biosecurity. PloS one, 15(9), e0236234.



Humans routinely attempt to manage pest rodent populations with anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). We require information on resistance to ARs within rodent populations to have effective eradication programs that minimise exposure in non-target species. Mutations to the VKORC1 gene have been shown to confer resistance in rodents with high proportions of resistance in mice found in all European populations tested. We screened mutations in Mus musculus within Western Australia, by sampling populations from the capital city (Perth) and a remote island (Browse Island). These are the first Australian mouse populations screened for resistance using this method. Additionally, the mitochondrial D-loop of house mice was sequenced to explore population genetic structure, identify the origin of Western Australian mice, and to elucidate whether resistance was linked to certain haplotypes.


No resistance-related VKORC1 mutations were detected in either house mouse population. A genetic introgression in the intronic sequence of the VKORC1 gene of Browse Island house mouse was detected which is thought to have originated through hybridisation with the Algerian mouse (Mus spretus). Analysis of the mitochondrial D-loop reported two haplotypes in the house mouse population of Perth, and two haplotypes in the population of Browse Island.

Conclusions Both house mouse populations exhibited no genetic resistance to ARs, in spite of free use of ARs in Western Australia. Therefore weaker anticoagulant rodenticides can be employed in pest control and eradication attempts, which will result in reduced negative impacts on non-target species. Biosecurity measures must be in place to avoid introduction of resistant house mice, and new house mouse subspecies to Western Australia.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


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