Current regulatory frameworks for assessing environmental releases of genetically modified insects (and other GM organisms, GMOs) place a strong emphasis on evaluating risks in isolation to any consideration of possible benefits. This strict risk-analysis approach reflects the Precautionary Principle of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which forms the basis of national legislation governing decision on GMO releases in many countries. The focus on risk assessment for GMOs ignores the potential benefits to society that this new technology offers, and disregards the fact that tolerance of some level of risk may be acceptable when the perceived benefit of an action is great. This project developed a policy framework for assessing environmental releases of genetically modified insects in terms of both benefits and risks and produced a briefing document.
Shelly obtained her PhD in wildlife ecology and management from the University of Queensland in 2010. Later that year she took up a NERC funded post-doctoral position within the Edward Grey Institute in the Zoology Department, University of Oxford, to study the dynamics and impacts of endemic malaria in wild great tits. She was with MERG in 2013.