Researchers say altering the genetics of mice could be the answer to combating future plagues.
It was estimated last year's mouse plague cost NSW grain growers more than $1 billion.
At the moment the best offensive weapon is the widespread use of zinc phosphide baits
The University of Adelaide this week released their first findings on the effectiveness of gene drive technology to control invasive mice.
The researchers say editing the DNA of select mice and then "saturating" rodent populations would make females infertile.
Scientists have already developed a way of making male fruit flies infertile but this uses X-rays and not gene editing.
With mice, the Adelaide university researchers used computer modelling to find about 250 gene-modified mice could remove an island population of 200,000 mice in around 20 years.
The university has developed a world-first proof of concept for the technology they call t-CRISPR - using laboratory mice.
"This is the first time that a new genetic tool has been identified to suppress invasive mouse populations by inducing female infertility," lead researcher Professor Paul Thomas said.
"The t-CRISPR approach uses cutting-edge DNA editing technology to make alterations to a female fertility gene. Once the population is saturated with the genetic modification, all the females that are generated will be infertile.
"We are also developing new versions of t-CRISPR technology that are designed to target specific pest populations to prevent unwanted spread of the gene drive."
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Post-graduate student Luke Gierus, a co-first author of the research paper, said t-CRISPR was the first genetic biocontrol tool for invasive mammals.
"Up until now, this technology has been aimed at insects to try and limit the spread of malaria," Mr Gierus said.
"The use of t-CRISPR technology provides a humane approach to controlling invasive mice without the release of toxins into the environment. We are also working on strategies to prevent failed eradication due to the emergence of gene drive resistance in the target population."
Professor Thomas said the research team had worked closely with CSIRO, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, the Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Rodents and the US Department of Agriculture to consider next steps towards safely implementing the new technology.
"Our broader project includes consideration of societal views and attitudes, and is integral to our ongoing research relating to this gene drive," he said.
CSIRO group leader (Environmental Mitigation and Resilience) Dr Owain Edwards said the prototype had been designed to be highly specific for mice, but it is also evidence gene drives can be developed against other invasive pest animals.
"As part of this research, we conduct the safety assessments for this technology to the highest standards.
"Because this is the first prototype for a vertebrate gene drive, interested stakeholders will include many from the international community."
The research was supported by the South Australian and NSW governments.