Stories

Gene drives for wasp control:
Insights from CVNZ Volunteers

Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons; Natalie Jones

Natalie Jones (former manager of our CVNZ Wellington office and the Wasp Wipeout Programme) is a researcher at Victoria University of Wellington. She recently completed her Master’s thesis on gene drives for wasp control, based on interviews with some of our volunteers. 

One of her key findings is that it is crucial that scientists communicate effectively with the public about new pest control methods. Natalie has created the video below to share her findings.

She speaks with Phil Lester, a leading wasp scientist, to address several of the key concerns the public raised with her. The video features infographics designed by The Seed Pod.

Key questions in the video:
  • How exactly will gene drives for wasp control work?
  • How will you mitigate the risk of modified wasps returning to their home range?
  • What are the latest advancements in gene technology for wasp control?
Insights from Conservation Volunteers New Zealand

Novel (new) gene technologies have the potential to drastically suppress invasive wasp populations on a national scale. But will these methods be socially acceptable? CVNZ staff and volunteers are uniquely positioned to find out how the public feels about these emerging technologies. A recent study found that there is strong support for novel gene technology as long as researchers and scientists can address certain conditions and key concerns.

Call to Action

As conservation volunteers, your engagement and feedback are essential in shaping the way we communicate innovative technologies like gene drive to the public. 

Please feel free to post any further questions or feedback in the comments section of the video or get in touch with Natalie at [email protected]. She would love to hear from you.

Share the video widely and you can also download and share the infographics here

The Seed Pod

The Seed Pod makes really cool conservation-related resources (including a podcast you might enjoy). You can listen here.

 

Thanks to Sian at the Seed Pod for designing the video infographics!