Inhaltspezifische Aktionen

Research topics

Molecular Biocontrol & Gene Editing


The cherry vinegar fly, Drosophila suzukii, is a highly invasive fruit pest that originated in Southeast Asia and has been spreading rapidly since 2007 in Europe and the US. D. suzukii predominantly affects soft fruits and stone fruits and is adapted to cooler regions. To date, there is no effective and sustainable method of combating it. Due to the infestation of the fruits shortly before the harvest, even insecticides are only conditionally usable. Initial estimates of crop losses in America are estimated at over $ 500 million in just three states.
The so-called sterile insect technique (SIT) could be an important factor in controlling this species and several genetically modified strains are evaluated with the united goal of reducing crop damage. The classic SIT is based on the mass release of sterile males to reduce a wild-type population by infertile matings. We are evaluating environmentally friendly sex separation and male sterility technologies for the cherry vinegar fly, as both aspects are essential for a successful SIT program against D. suzukii. The systems could be used after extensive testing in integrated pest control programs along with other technologies.


Research interests: 

  • Pest control of Drosophila suzukii
  • Sterile insect technique
  • Environmentally friendly population control 


Risk Assessment of transgenic insects

In addition, we are interested in agricultural pests such as the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, which causes billions of dollars worth of damage worldwide. On the other hand, mosquito species such as the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti are being researched in our laboratories. Aedes alone causes about 100,000 yellow fever infections and leads to 22,000 deaths per year.
Insecticides and pesticides are predominantly used to control those insects, but they can have adverse effects on humans and nature and often lead to the formation of resistance. Also for this species, new genetic approaches open up many opportunities to improve SIT programs. To increase the safety of transgenic systems and to be able to compare different systems, we are developing control strains and technologies for the transgenic stabilization and risk assessment of transgenic insects at Justus-Liebig University Giessen. This includes the unbiased comparison of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), classical genetic strains, and newly developed non-transgenic and non-GM strains and technologies.


Research interests:

  • Risk assessment of transgenic insects
  • Evaluation of transgenic technologies for agricultural pests and mosquitoes
  • Development of molecular biological systems for transgene stabilization
  • CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing technologies
  • non-GM technologies