GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Stakeholder input wanted: survey on research needs for assessing GMO impacts 

Shaping the Future of GMO Research

Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invited to take part in an online survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, thereby contributing to the commissioning of research on the health, environment and economic impacts of GMOs.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

More information and access to the online survey

The setting-up of this website was financially supported by the European Union within the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme from 1 January 2005 until 28 February 2007.

The European Commission and other EU agencies are not responsible for the content.
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Breeding Aims

Modern biotechnological techniques have rapidly expanded the horizons of plant breeding and crop improvement. Conventional breeding techniques rely on the random rearrangement of existing genes between two closely related parent plants. Now, genetic engineering has opened up new possibilities by allowing the transfer of individual, known genes, even from completely unrelated organisms such as fungi or bacteria. Genetic engineering thus provides a supplement to classical breeding approaches. This chapter gives examples of crop traits that have been or are being conferred by means of genetic engineering.

Herbicide resistance
Worldwide, herbicide resistant crops are the most widely grown transgenic plants. More than 70 percent of the GM plants grown today are herbicide resistant.



Pest resistance
Crops genetically engineered for pest resistance are enabling a shift away from our reliance on broad-spectrum insecticides. This could provide a safer, more biologically sustainable way of managing insect pests. Experience has shown that crop yields can be maintained or increased while decreasing spraying.



Disease resistance
Plant diseases are a major agricultural problem, with losses sometimes reaching 90 percent. Virus infections can be especially difficult to prevent, and treatments for plant viral infections do not exist.



Altered composition
With the advent of genetic engineering, food enhancement and processing could take on a new dimension. Instead of adding new ingredients to foods in the factory, beneficial substances can now be put into the crops themselves. Both industry and consumers have much to gain from crops like "designer oilseeds" or starch crops custom tailored to specific applications.



Transgenic plants can be used to produce an array of substances including pharmaceuticals, silk proteins, biodegradable plastics, or industrial enzymes. Such crops are only intended for industrial use and are not to be used as food.



Stress resistance
More and more research is addressing intensifying global concerns over water scarcity. Salt, heat, and drought resistant crops could play an important role in meeting emergency food needs in the developing world and stabilising crop yields in industrialised nations.



Elimination of pollutants
Genetic engineering has given plants the ability to clean-up soils polluted with heavy metals or petroleum products. Such strategies can offer cheap and sustainable solutions to dangerous environmental problems.



 GM Crops: Specific Information and Future Projects
December 8, 2006 [nach oben springen]

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