The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

Regulation of genetically engineered crops calls for ‘risk-based approach’

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

. . .GE crops have been the most scrutinized foods in human history, despite a lack of scientific justification for such a burden. . . . removing unnecessary regulatory obstacles should be a high priority.

In this article, we describe a risk-based approach, building on that outlined originally by the National Research Council . . . and then later in the ‘Stanford Model’ for risk  assessment.

. . . .

We work through . . . examples. . . . All of these assessments are for North America, where . . . sunflower are natives.

. . . .

Herbicide-tolerant sunflower or rice:

  • Object of protection: diversity of wild sunflowers or rice.
  • Likelihood of hazard: high, based on amount of known gene flow.
  • Amount of harm: marginal—herbicide tolerance does not provide a selective advantage outside of agriculture.
  • Risk: low.

Note that the worst-case scenario in herbicide-tolerant sunflower or rice would be that the farmer would be unable to use the herbicide any longer; thus, this is an herbicide market-protection (efficacy) issue rather than an environmental concern. . . . .

Related article:  'Ecological Armageddon'? Three-quarters of flying insects in Germany vanished in 25 years, study claims

Insect-resistant (Bt) sunflower:

  • Object of protection: wild sunflowers (and perhaps some endangered pollinator, should such an insect exist).
  • Likelihood of hazard: high—cultivated and wild sunflower . . . hybridize easily. . . . insect resistance could increase the competiveness or weediness of wild sunflower.
  • Amount of harm: unknown.
  • Risk: unknown.

In this case, risk assessment for Bt sunflower cannot be completed until certain knowledge gaps are addressed. . . .

. . .[M]ost GE sunflowers would be Category 2 (low risk) if proposed for planting in the vicinity of wild populations. However, the Bt sunflower described above could be placed in a higher risk group. . . unless either additional studies show that the insertion of a Bt gene does not confer a selective advantage . . . or effective confinement. . . mechanisms become available to mitigate the risk.

The full article is behind a paywall. Read it here: A risk-based approach to the regulation of genetically engineered organisms and supporting material here: Box 1: Four case studies

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend