Grand conference of the Académie des Sciences
in the André and Liliane Bettencourt Auditorium
Pascale Cossart and Jules Hoffmann, French Académie des Sciences
Philippe Grandcolas, CNRS and National Muséum of Natural History
Jean-Luc Imler, University of Strasbourg
Insects today make up to 80% of animal species on earth and have a significant impact on our world. As vectors of disease they are responsible for more deaths each year than those caused by armed conflict. As pollinators of our crops they play an essential role in the production of food. Insects also have key roles in the organic matter cycle and the maintenance of vertebrate populations. They have existed for at least 360 million years and were among the first animals to colonise terrestrial ecosystems. During the course of their evolution they have undergone significant expansion and diversification, marked by the development of specialised traits, e.g. flight and the ability to form complex societies. Insects such as Drosophila are now essential tools in laboratories and serve as key biological models which have led to major discoveries in genetics, behavior and immunology to name but a few. For all these reasons and the ongoing impact of environmental changes on their populations, insects are more than ever an important topic of research for our future. The Académie des sciences has decided to spread this message amongst the scientific community and the civil society by dedicating its first Grand Conference to this expanding subject.
Through presentations from internationally recognised experts, this conference will address the key topics of insect biology, from their interaction with the environment to their use in the biomedical and ecological research.