Expert Analysis:
Biodiversity & Ecology

June 8, 2016

National Academies report on gene drives recommends field trials but not environmental release

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has published a report on the responsible use of gene drives, finding gene-drive modified organisms are not ready to be released into the environment, but recommends strictly controlled field trials. Continue reading

May 17, 2016

National Academies report looks at 30 years of GE crops, advocates changes to regulation

The National Academies has published a wide-ranging assessment of the impact of genetically engineered crops. The report recommends U.S. regulations need to focus on individual products, not the process by which they were made. Continue reading

February 4, 2016

Combating Zika with genetically engineered mosquitoes: Hope or hype?

As the Zika outbreak continues in the Americas, methods of controlling the mosquitoes that spread the virus by using genetic engineering have gained attention. But how realistic is it for these new technologies to be deployed on a large scale? Continue reading

November 18, 2015

Bumble bees and apple trees: Experiment finds impact of neonicotinoid on pollination

A study in Nature reports the first evidence of a neonicotinoid pesticide directly impacting pollination by bees, according to the authors. Bumble bees exposed to the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam made fewer visits to apple trees and collected less pollen compared to controls. Continue reading

October 20, 2015

Mixing farms, forests and grasslands protects biodiversity from effects of intensive farming

New research suggests impact of intensive farming on biodiversity can be counteracted by having a varied ecosystem at larger, landscape scales, and that maintaining a diverse landscape of farms, forests and grasslands could allow for sustainable intensification of agriculture. Continue reading

September 17, 2015

Parasitic wasps made Monarch butterflies ‘natural GMOs’ through horizontal gene transfer

Genomes of several species of butterflies and moths, including the Monarch butterfly, contain genes from parasitic wasps and viruses due to naturally occurring gene transfer taking place over millions of years, according to a study in PLoS Genetics. Continue reading

May 19, 2015

White House publishes plan to protect vital pollinators

The White House has laid out its long-awaited strategy to improve pollinator health in the US, aiming to reduce honeybee losses, increase monarch butterfly numbers and restore or enhance millions of acres of pollinator habitat. Continue reading

April 10, 2015

European group says neonicotinoid use can’t be sustainable

A European expert group looked at the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on the benefits that ecosystems provide for agriculture, broadening their focus beyond honeybees. Continue reading