GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
  Mar 27, 2017 | 10:26 pm
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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

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

Elimination of Pollutants

A current hot topic in biotechnology is 'bioremediation', or the use of plants or microorganisms to remove toxic pollutants from the environment. Plants and microorganisms can be modified to enhance heavy metal absorption or to break down petroleum products.

Young poplars designed to extract heavy metals from soil.

Several biotech approaches have been taken to cleaning up pollution:

  • Genetically modified microorganisms designed to break down organic pollutants
  • Genetically modified microorganisms for detecting the presence and toxicity of particular pollutants
  • Genetically modified plants designed to accumulate high levels of toxic metals

One example of this approach is the use of poplars with an enhanced ability to extract cadmium from contaminated soils. The toxic metal is taken up by the rapidly growing tree's roots, and is then stored in its wood and leaves for disposal.

Many plants are naturally capable of taking up small amounts of heavy metals. A gene from the bacterium Escherichia coli was transferred into poplars, which enables the transgenic trees to produce glutathione.

Glutathione is a phytochelatin, or a small peptide capable of binding to heavy metals, which makes them more mobile and helps mask their toxic effects. Transgenic plants expressing phytochelatins not only become able to take up much more toxin, they also become better suited to growing in heavily polluted soils.

December 8, 2006 [nach oben springen]

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