Skip to main content

Committee explores ethical and safety concerns of GM insect technology

27 October 2015

What risks do GM insects pose to the environment? What is their long-term effect on ecosystems? On Tuesday 27 October the Committee asks scientists, conservationists and ethics experts these, and other, questions as part of their investigation into GM insect technologies.

The Committee hears from scientists at the forefront of GM research, in order to probe the development of insect technologies. The Committee then explores the ethical and safety concerns surrounding GM insects, by questioning leading figures in bioethics and invertebrate conservation.

The sessions take place on Tuesday 27 October in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster.

First panel

At 10.40am:

  • Professor Luke Alphey, Head of Arthropod Genetics Group, The Pirbright Institute
  • Professor Paul Eggleston, Professor of Molecular Entomology, Keele University
  • Professor Austin Burt, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, Imperial College London

Second panel

At 11.40am:

  • Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive, Buglife, The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
  • Professor Jonathan Montgomery, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics

Possible questions

Questions that the Committee will ask over the two sessions include:

  • What are the ethical and safety concerns around GM insect technologies?
  • What is the extent of public awareness of this area of science?
  • What might be other applications of this technology beyond disease control and pest management?
  • How valid are concerns around gene transfer, ecosystem damage, the impact on the food chain and the creation of unexpected pathogens?
  • How do concerns surrounding population suppression and population replacement GM insect strategies differ?

Further information

Image: iStockphoto