Dr. R. Guy Reeves




Email:reeves [at] evolbio.mpg.de

SKYPE (work) DrGuyReeves

Address Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionsbiologie

Abteilung Evolutionsgenetik

August-Thienemannstrasse 2

24306 Plön (Germany)

Phone (office) 

+49 4522 763  372



My current research interests are focused on these main areas:

If you are looking for link to recent Science publication, includes open access redirect link or additional information


Agricultural research, or a new bioweapon system? Science Vol. 362, Issue 6410, pp. 35-37DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7664

Recently submitted :-

Zhang W.,Reeves R. G., Tautz D., 2018 Pupation height choice in Drosophila melanogaster is a polygenic trait driven by major effect genes. Genetics (in review).

Recently published :-

Reeves, R. G.; Tautz, D. Automated Phenotyping Indicates Pupal Size in Drosophila Is a Highly Heritable Trait with an Apparent Polygenic Basis. G3 2017, 7,1277–1286

Bryk, J.; Reeves, R. G.; Reed, F. A.; Denton, J. A. Transcriptional effects of a positive feedback circuit in Drosophila melanogaster. BMC Genomics 2017, 8,990

Reeves R. G., Phillipson M., Invited Article: Mass releases of genetically modified insects in area-wide pest control programs and their impact on organic farmers. Sustainability 2017, 9 (1), 59


Boëte C., Reeves R. G., 2016 Alternative vector control methods to manage the Zika virus outbreak: more haste, less speed. The Lancet Global Health 4: e363.


Hassan A., Mahmoud A., Ralph E Harbach, Reeves R. G., Ibrahim K. M., Alkareem A., Azrag R., Aedes mosquitoes in the Republic of the Sudan, with dichotomous keys for the adult and larval stages (2017 Journal of Natural History. 2017, 0, 1–17

Development of a  proof principle system for underdominant population transformation.

The utilisation of genetic underdominance to control insect pest populations is not a new one and was first successfully applied in the 1940s to eliminate tsetse flies ( which spread sleeping sickness) from a 25Km2 area of Tanzania . 

A transgenic construct which we call {U}, that  also exploits underdominance to push novel genes into experimental populations..  This could one day be useful to push genes into wild populations to stop particular insects species spreading diseases.

The {U} construct has the following desirable properties:

1    Geographically self-limiting; restricting itself to targeted populations of a specific                                                 species.

2    Reversible, population transformation is realistically reversible.

3    Species specific; Horizontal transfer to non-target species is highly unlikely.

This work is still at a very early stage and it will take years of multi-disciplinary work before it will be possible to determine if this approach is effective and safe.

Relevant publications

Reeves RG, Bryk J, Altrock PM, Denton J a., Reed FA: First steps towards underdominant genetic transformation of insect populations. PLoS One 2014.

International patent: PCT/EP2013/077856(see MOU about limits to commercialization)

Gokhale C, Reeves RG, Reed FA: Dynamics of a combined Medea-Underdominant Population Transformation System. BMC Evol Biol 2014.

Altrock PM, Traulsen A, Reeves RG, Reed F a (2010) Using underdominance to bi-stably transform local populations. Journal of theoretical biology 267: 62-75. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.08.004


Promoting public engagement in trials of  genetically  modified (GM)  insects.

If GM insect technologies can be shown to be safe and effective they have the potential to make a real contribution to controlling diseases spread by insects which cause enormous human hardship. They also have the potential to control insect damage to crop in species-specific manner without the need for the use of chemicals.

However, these technologies have an obvious potential to cause public unease.

Like many other scientists and NGOs I am actively promoting informed scientific debate about this topic. 

In Progress: Analysis of large scale global survey of expert scientists attitudes to innovative biotechnological approaches to insect control.

R. Guy Reeves, Jai A. Denton, Fiammetta Santucci, Jarosław Bryk, Floyd A. Reed

Scientific Standards and the Regulation of Genetically Modified Insects.

(2012). PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 6 (1) .


link to extended press release

Guest Editorial: Scientific standards and the release of genetically modified insects for vector control [http://www.malariaworld.org/blog/guest-editorial-scientific-standards-and-release-genetically-modified-insects-vector-control]

The Genetic Jungle - the use of genetically modified insects in conservation. Genewatch Mag (USA), Council Responsible Genetics 2012, 25:12–13.

Reeves R. G., Phillipson M., 2016 Invited Article: Mass releases of genetically modified insects in area-wide pest control programs and their impact on organic farmers. Sustainability (in review).


Development of automated high-throughput phenotyping systems and their integration with data-management databases.

I am currently developing tools for  the management of large scale genetic projects. 

My current project has the phenotyped >100,00  Drosophila flies and maintain a database which relates all the location of all 100,000 individuals to their position in the freezer to any DNA extractions or whole genome sequences data generated. The database provides realtime information on the experiment enabling the coordination between technicians and the capacity to made rapid decisions on how to proceed with constantly adapting experiments.