The pilot study is designed to establish socio-ecological risk research and technology assessment for “self-propagating artificial genetic elements” (SPAGE). An analysis of the effects of these technologies is urgently required since populations of plants or animals may be partially or completely altered by SPAGE; they may be subjected to extreme influence and potentially even eradicated.

In regard to the precautionary principle, the project will determine potential hazards and exposure potential, taking into account potential tipping points for affected systems. The results of the research will help to assess potential hazards associated with a release of organisms modified by SPAGE into (agro-) ecosystems, and to estimate the associated socioeconomic effects. Further, the necessary framework and measures for a precaution-oriented technology design will be developed on the basis of the project findings. This includes the possible need for action by regulatory authorities and policy makers.