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Objective

According to the World Health Organization’s 2017 World Malaria Report, an estimated 216 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide in 2016, with 90% of this total concentrated in the African region. Alarmingly, and despite an increased public health focus on the elimination of malaria, it is becoming clear that many countries will not be able to achieve this goal without considering novel management approaches. One control strategy in the early stages of development is the use of gene drive mechanisms to suppress or replace vector mosquito populations.

Collaborators & Partners

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), and the Government of Australia

Current Work

Mosquito Biology

Understanding vector biology is an important component of any disease management strategy and will be essential for assessing potential environmental risks that may be associated with the deployment of genetically engineered mosquitos. To that end, the ILSI Research Foundation and representatives from the governments of Brazil and Mexico served as convening lead authors of the OECD’s first biology document for an insect speciesAedes aeqypti, which was published in 2018. With the success of this first effort, a second mosquito biology document, describing Anopheles gambiae, is now underway. First proposed to the OECD by the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the ILSI Research Foundation was very pleased to be asked to co-lead the drafting group with NEPAD and the Government of Australia. With funding from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the ILSI Research Foundation is partnering with the OECD to convene a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in March 2019 that will bring Anopheles experts together to advance the biology document.

Consultations on Problem Formulation for ERA of Gene Drive Mosquitoes

Between October 2016 and February 2018, NEPAD organized four regional consultations on the potential use of gene drives to combat malaria transmission through vector suppression. At the request of NEPAD, the ILSI Research Foundation assisted in setting the agenda for the scientific programs and guided participants through a problem formulation exercise to inform future work on risk assessment. These consultations served as an introduction to the basic principles of environmental risk assessment, as well as provided a critical opportunity to hear from regional risk assessors and stakeholders regarding potential risks that may be associated with deploying gene drive technology for this purpose. Together with NEPAD and FNIH, the ILSI Research Foundation is summarizing the outcomes of the four regional consultations in a manuscript that will be submitted for publication in 2019.

Resources

Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species

Tarragona, Spain

Sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, this workshop will highlight different approaches to the control of invasive species that make use of transgenic organisms engineered for introduction into a target population in order to reduce or eliminate it.

Read more

Kick-off Meeting of the Ad-hoc Expert Group for Developing the OECD Consensus Document on the Biology of Mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As a first step in drafting an OECD Consensus Document on the Biology of Mosquito Anopheles gambiae, the ILSI Research Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (NEPAD-ABNE), is hosting a meeting of Anopheles gambiae mosquito biology experts.

Read more

Gene Drive: 21st Century Genetic Control of Agricultural and Public Health Pests

Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, delivered the presentation Environmental Risk Assessment of Gene Drive Insects at the Section Symposium: Gene Drive: 21st Century Genetic Control of Agricultural and Public Health Pests, which took place during the 2018 Entomology Society of America Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Read more

Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops and Insects: Lessons Learned from the Past and Next Steps in a Changing World

Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, delivered the presentation The Global Perspective on ERA Regulations for GE Crops and Insects at the Section Symposium: Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops and Insects: Lessons Learned from the Past and Next Steps in a Changing World, which took place during the 2018 Entomology Society of America Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Read more

Central Africa Consultative Meeting on Gene Drive Technology

Libreville, Gabon

The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) organized a regional consultation to examine the basic principles of environmental risk assessment and the application of this process to the use of gene drives for either population modification or population suppression in mosquito vectors of malaria. NEPAD requested that the ILSI Research Foundation assist them in setting the agenda for the scientific program.

Read more

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			Overview		
			Provisional Agenda		
			Registration		
				Overview
				

Invasive species can pose a threat to the environment, agriculture, or human health. Most governmental approaches to control the spread of invasive species are focused on preventing new introductions. However, efforts to address the control of invasive species once they have become established have met with limited success. Genetic biocontrol of invasive species may offer a new opportunity to go beyond prevention and begin to reduce or eliminate invasive species through genetic strategies. This workshop will highlight different approaches to the control of invasive species that make use of transgenic and nontransgenic organisms designed for introduction into a target population in order to reduce or eliminate it. The presentations given on these various approaches will compare them with respect to efficacy, biosafety, practicality, cost, and time frame for implementation.

This workshop is sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme: Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, whose financial support made it possible for some of the invited speakers to participate in the workshop. 

 

Provisional Agenda

There will be a five minute period included at the end of each 30 minute presentation that will be used for questions and answers.

Registration

Please fill out the form below to register for the Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species workshop. Space is limited and will be allotted on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Check the box below to receive a monthly email newsletter containing the latest information about our activities, as well as occasional news releases regarding upcoming events and important announcements.
  • We will be sending event information and updates via email. By registering below, you are consenting to receiving these electronic communications.

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Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, delivered the presentation Environmental Risk Assessment of Gene Drive Insects at the Section Symposium: Gene Drive: 21st Century Genetic Control of Agricultural and Public Health Pests, which took place during the 2018 Entomology Society of America Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

More detailed information about the session is available on the Entomological Society of America website

Agenda

Abstract & Presentation

Agenda

Introductory Remarks
David A. O'Brochta, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (Organizer)
Blair D. Siegfried, University of Florida (Organizer)
Scott T. O'Neal, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Moderator)
Peter D. Jensen, Monsanto Company (Moderator)

Natural Selfish Genetic Elements and Gene Drive - Their Relevance to Evolution
Gerald S. Wilkinson, University of Maryland
Kimberly Paczolt, University of Maryland
Josephine Reinhardt, University of New York

Engineered Gene Drives - Types and Mechanisms
Omar Akbari, University of California, San Diego

Gene Drives for Public Health - Modifying Vector Populations
Rebeca Carballar-Lejarazú, University of California, Irvine

Gene Drive Performance - Insights from Modeling
Alun Lloyd, North Carolina State University

Gene Drives for Agricultural Insect Control
Max Scott, North Carolina State University

Ethics, Social, and Community Considerations Raised by Gene Drives
Claudia Emerson and Aaron Roberts, McMaster University

Environmental Risk Assessment of Gene Drive Insects
Andrew F. Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation

Gene Drives for Public Health - Suppressing Vector Populations
Austin Burt, Imperial College of London
Tony Nolan, Imperial College of London

Abstract & Presentation

Environmental Risk Assessment of Gene Drive Insects
Andrew F. Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation

The potential to use gene drive mechanisms to address intractable public health problems caused by vector-borne diseases has been of interest to scientists for decades, but recent advances in molecular biology have brought this idea closer to feasibility and consequently into the public consciousness. To begin discussions in Africa that will facilitate the consideration of potential future use of gene drive technologies to control malaria, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) organized a series of regional consultations taking place in 2016-2018. Drawing from his experience in facilitating problem formulation exercises at these consultations, as well as other sources, I will share some of my own conclusions about the utility (and the necessity) of applying an organized scoping process like problem formulation to better inform the risk assessment process, especially as it relates to new technologies or new uses of technology. I will also review commonly identified assessment endpoints that can provide guidance to future risk assessments for gene drive mosquitoes. These include potential alterations to vectorial capacity that might impact human or animal health, the potential for aquatic larvae to influence water quality, and the potential for harm resulting from altered ecosystem interactions.

Download Presentation

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Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, delivered the presentation The Global Perspective on ERA Regulations for GE Crops and Insects at the Section Symposium: Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops and Insects - Lessons Learned from the Past and Next Steps in a Changing World, which took place during the 2018 Entomoloagy Society of America Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

More detailed information about the session is available on the Entomological Society of America website.

Agenda

Abstract & Presentation

Agenda

Introductory Remarks
Tony Shelton, Cornell University (Organizer)
Jörg Romeis, Agroscope (Organizer)
Ana Maria Velez, University of Nebraska (Organizer)

Evolution of Environmental Risk Assessment for GM Crops
Paul Jepson, Oregon State University

Assessing the Risk of Bt Crops to Arthropod Natural Enemies: A Tri-Trophic Perspective
Steven Naranjo, USDA - ARS
Tony Shelton, Cornell University
Junce Tian, Zhejiang University
Jörg Romeis, Agroscope
Richard Hellmich, USDA - ARS

Systematically Reviewing Non-Target Effects of Bt Maize on Arthropods in Field Studies: Pitfalls and Opportunities of Meta-Analysis
Michael Meissle, Agroscope
Steven Naranjo, USDA - ARS
Jörg Romeis, Agroscope

Risk Assessment of RNAi and Gene Editing in Pest Management
Ana Velez, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Gene Drive: An Overview for Pest Management
Timothy Harvey-Samuel, Pirbright Institute

Role of Population Modification in the Malaria Eradication Agenda
Anthony James and Rebeca Carballar-Lejarazú, University of California, Irvine

The US System for Regulating GE Organisms in Agriculture
Lisa Knolhoff, USDA - APHIS

The Global Perspective on ERA Regulations for GE Crops and Insects
Andrew F. Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation

The Cornell-Oxitec Project: The First Release of Self-Limiting Insects in North America
Tony Shelton, Cornell University
Neil Morrison, Oxitec Ltd.

Fall Armyworm in Africa: Can GE Technologies Be Part of the Solution?
Joseph E. Huesing and Regina Eddy, United States Agency for International Development

Biological Control of Human Diseases and Crop Pests with GM Insects
Brad Shurdut, Intrexon Corporation
Neil Morrison, Oxitec Ltd.
Catherine Reavey, Oxitec Ltd.

Managing GM Crop Dominated Landscapes: Case of the Monarch Butterfly
Richard Hellmich, USDA - ARS

Panel Discussion

Abstract & Presentation

The Global Perspective on ERA Regulations for GE Crops and Insects
Andrew F. Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation

Global experience with environmental risk assessment (ERA) for genetically engineered (GE) organisms has focused almost exclusively on considerations for GE crops. Up until now, only a small number of cases featuring a handful of other organisms (including trees, fish, microorganisms and insects) have received regulatory ERA for release to the environment. However, new and emerging technologies are bringing GE insects into the spotlight. This talk will review the current global experience with regulatory ERA of GE insects, identify relevant international treaties (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety), and offer some insight on how regulatory ERA for GE insects is likely to move forward as these technologies are deployed around the world.

Download Presentation

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Invasive species can pose a threat to the environment, agriculture, or human health. Most governmental approaches to control the spread of invasive species are focused on preventing new introductions. However, efforts to address the control of invasive species once they have become established have met with limited success. Genetic biocontrol of invasive species may offer a new opportunity to go beyond prevention and begin to reduce or eliminate invasive species through genetic strategies. This workshop will highlight different approaches to the control of invasive species that make use of transgenic and nontransgenic organisms designed for introduction into a target population in order to reduce or eliminate it. The presentations given on these various approaches will compare them with respect to efficacy, biosafety, practicality, cost, and time frame for implementation.

This workshop is sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme: Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, whose financial support made it possible for some of the invited speakers to participate in the workshop. 

 

Provisional Agenda

There will be a five minute period included at the end of each 30 minute presentation that will be used for questions and answers.

Registration

Please fill out the form below to register for the Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species workshop. Space is limited and will be allotted on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Check the box below to receive a monthly email newsletter containing the latest information about our activities, as well as occasional news releases regarding upcoming events and important announcements.
  • We will be sending event information and updates via email. By registering below, you are consenting to receiving these electronic communications.

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OECD Consensus Document of the Biology of Mosquito Aedes aegypti

Volume 8 of the series Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms in the Environment contains the first OECD biosafety consensus document to deal with the biology of an insect, the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Read more

Results from the Workshop “Problem Formulation for the Use of Gene Drive in Mosquitoes”

Reducing the incidence of malaria has been a public health priority for nearly a century. However, before new technologies and associated vector control strategies  can be developed and exploited, it will be necessary to understand and assess the likelihood of any potential harms to humans or the environment. To begin this process, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the ILSI Research Foundation organized an expert workshop to consider the potential risks related to the use of gene drives in Anopheles gambiae for malaria control in Africa.

Read more

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