LOEWE Center for
Insect Biotechnology
& Bioresources

Risk assessment of transgenic insects

Prof. Dr. Marc F. Schetelig − Emmy Noether Program

The Emmy Noether Group led by Prof. Dr. Schetelig focuses on the control of insect pests, including significant agricultural pests such as the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) which would cause billions of dollars of losses worldwide without control programs. The group also studies mosquito species such as the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), which causes approximately 100,000 yellow fever infections per year, 22,000 of which are fatal.

Insect pests are typically controlled by insecticides and pesticides. However, these often have a negative impact on humans and the environment, and can encourage the emergence of resistant pest populations. A promising and environmentally beneficial alternative that complements conventional pest control strategies is the sterile insect technique (SIT). This is based on the mass release of sterile males to engage females in fruitless mating activity and thus reduce the wild-type population. Novel genetic approaches have provided opportunities to improve current SIT programs. The Emmy Noether group is therefore developing technologies for transgene stabilization and the risk assessment of transgenic insects to increase the safety of transgenic systems and allow the direct comparison of different SIT strategies. 

Research topics:

  • Risk assessment of trangenic insects
  • Evaluation of transgenic technologies for agricultural pests and mosquitoes
  • Development of molecular biology systems for transgene stabilization

Group leader: Prof. Dr. Marc F. Schetelig
Group members:

Dr. Irina Häcker

Dr. Josiane Etang

Tanja Rehling

Artem Kepsch

Alisa Rosenstengel

Jens Zinn

Sponsor:

Emmy Noether program of the German Research Foundation (SCHE 1833/1)
Emmy Noether Programm - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Humboldt Foundation - HERMES