Navigation Links
Researchers develop new approach to identify possible ecological effects of releasing genetically engineered insects
Date:11/18/2013

University of Minnesota researchers have developed a new approach for identifying potential environmental effects of deliberate releases of genetically engineered (GE) insects.

The researchers outline their approach in a paper in the journal Ecology and Evolution. The authors include professor of entomology David Andow and Aaron David, Joe Kaser, Amy Morey and Alex Roth four graduate students who received NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) the National Science Foundation's flagship interdisciplinary training program educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers.

GE insects hold great promise for significantly changing pest management and fighting insect borne human diseases throughout the world. Before releasing GE insects, scientists, governments and industry must examine the possible ecological effects GE insects could have by doing ecological risk assessments (ERA). University researchers' new approach provides improved guidance for such assessments.

"When new technology is developed, you want to make sure it's safe," says Morey, who is a doctoral student in the Department of Entomology. "You want to know what could happen when you release these novel organisms into the environment."

Because GE insects are such a new technology, there really isn't a standard way of evaluating that yet, she says.

"Our project is trying to get it a little bit further into a standardization -- a framework for how do you go about systematically evaluating a new technology so you're looking at all the sorts of different interactions that could possibly happen," Morey says.

In the paper, the researchers focus on all potential ecological effects whether an effect is adverse or beneficial, says Kaser, who is a doctoral student in the Department of Entomology. They apply their own approach to the Anopheles gambiae mosquito a malaria vector being engineered to suppress the wild mosquito population, says David, who is a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. They explore possible ecological effects during the transitory phase in the short term and steady state phases of the GE mosquito in the long term, David says.

"The population isn't the same the whole time. You do have these transitory phases where the potential effects could be quite different than the effects during the steady state phase," Kaser says.

Many risk assessments only look at the end result. "Our framework really tries to evaluate the entire range of potential effects," he says.

That more comprehensive look is what sets their approach apart from others.

"We think this is a novel and important contribution because many past risk assessments that were just looking at the final population state were missing a lot of really important effects," says Roth, a doctoral student in the Department of Forest Resources. "And that's where we think our framework can really add to identifying effects that could be important throughout this whole process."

As they worked, the researchers not only developed an approach for identifying potential ecological effects of GE insects, and they also found significant knowledge gaps in mosquito ecology.

"While there's an amazing and impressive amount of research that's been done on mosquitoes, there wasn't a whole lot of information about how they might be important ecologically," Kaser says.

In the paper, they had to broaden their scope of ecological research to infer what could happen.

"The idea is that there isn't much info on what happens when you release a GE organism so we drew upon other literature to get at the answer of what happens when you peturb populations," David says.

As GE insects become more common, the researchers say they hope their framework provides guidance that will improve future risk assessments and ensure the safety of these technologies.


'/>"/>

Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-625-6599
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
3. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
4. UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
7. Researchers print live cells with a standard inkjet printer
8. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
9. Researchers reveal how a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity
10. Researchers discover novel therapy for Crohns disease
11. New paper by Notre Dame researchers describes method for cleaning up nuclear waste
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2017)... FRANCISCO , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA ... centralized platform that is designed to enhance fraud ... latest release in the RSA Fraud & Risk ... enable organizations to leverage additional insights from internal ... tools to better protect their customers from targeted ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... BEDFORD, Mass., Feb. 7, 2017  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... services, today reported financial results for its quarter and year ... fourth quarter of 2016 was $3.9 million compared to $6.9 ... the fourth quarter of 2016 was $0.6 million compared to ... in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $0.5 million, or ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, ... musculoskeletal healthcare, will present at the LEERINK Partners 6th ... Palace Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 ... of the presentation can be accessed at http://wsw.com/webcast/leerink28/zbh ... the conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and interactive ... to announce the launch of a new scholarship for young scientists seeking a degree ... scholarship is open to all high school seniors, 17 years or older; as well ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Feb. 22, 2017 Origin (Origin Agritech, LLC, a subsidiary ... seed provider, and Arcadia (Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., ... and commercializes agricultural productivity traits and nutritional products, today announced their ... product developed in China to ... ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... Daniel Spyker, PhD, MD former Acting Deputy Director in the FDA CDRH Division ... Evaluation Staff has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. , In Dr. ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... SAN DIEGO , Feb. 22, 2017 ... announced today expansion of its translational research program ... through establishment of laboratory facilities in San Diego.  ... San Diego BioLabs facility, a biotechnology incubator sponsored ... Sanofi. In November 2016, the Company ...
Breaking Biology Technology: