Carina R. Lalyer published an article titled “Ecological vulnerability analysis for suppression of Drosophila suzukii by gene drives” in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation. Drosophila suzukii has been increasingly emerging as an invasive species and agricultural pest in recent decades. It describes a framework for assessing potential ecological impacts and the consequent vulnerability of ecological systems that could result from the release of genetically modified organisms. Such impacts depend on the biology and ecology of the organism but also on the type of gene drive used. The work illustrates reasons for concern and uncertainties when dealing with such a technology. Specific potential effects of the Drosophila suzukii fruit fly were further investigated to assess the vulnerability of related species or parasites.
This work represents the first ecological vulnerability analysis for the application of a gene drive in a wild insect population.
The article is open access and freely available at
Bernd Giese recently published an article titled “The viral era” in EMBO reports under the category ‘Science & Society’. He discusses the developments of modern technologies away from direct human influence towards increasingly autonomous systems. The article illustrates several bio-control techniques, from sterile insect technique (SIT), to gene drives, to viral applications such as Horizontal Environmental Genetic Alteration Agents (HEGAA). The article concludes with a call for adequate safeguards and asking whether our understanding of nature is sufficient for comprehensive management of ecological and socio-ecological systems.
The article is freely available under open access policy at embopress.org.
The German Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management published two reports on the issue of new nuclear technologies and their potential impact on nuclear waste management. One report deals with the option of partitioning and transmutation (P&T) and was co-authored by ISR scientists Friederike Frieß, Nikolaus Arnold, Wolfgang Liebert and Nikolaus Müllner.
The results of the report were discussed in an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and at an event hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.