GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Common Pea



Research  Herbicide tolerance, insect-,fungal-,and viral resistance, molecular pharming
Field trials EU 5
in additional countries
Approvals None
Perspectives A commercial use of GM peas is to be expected in the medium term.



The pea grows in temperate warm climate regions. It is cultivated in Europe, India, parts of Asia and Africa, as well as in North and South America. In 2005, about 20 million tons peas were produced worldwide. The feeding pea is also used as intermediate crop because as legume it enriches the soil with nitrogen.



The vegetable pea Pisum sativum is harvested in a premature state for consumption with the husk (sugar peas). The seeds of the mature harvested peas are used as follows:

  • fresh (raw or steamed vegetable) or processed as canned goods
  • as dried peas, or processed to flour or puree
  • for the production of starch

Renewable resources

  • As supplier of starch for the chemical industry

Further use of peas:

  • as animal feed
  • as green manure as intermediate crop


Gene technology: aims in research and development

Agronomic traits

Weed management

  • Herbicide tolerance
    In the USA, many field trials indicate an expected commercial use of herbicide-tolerant peas.

Pest resistance

  • Insect resistance: in India, a Bt pea shrub is being developed that is resistant to the cotton bollworm - Heliothis armigera.

Disease resistance

Renewable resources

Production of pharmaceutical agents

  • Molecular pharming: usage of the plant as "biological system" for the syntheses of proteins and enzymes: In Germany, peas that produce an enzyme (alpha-amylase) have been tested in a field trial.
    In 2007, a field trial with peas that build antibodies in the seeds took place in Germany. The peas, as a feed additive, are assumed to protect swine from infectious diseases.

Modified composition of ingredients

  • Protein composition


Field trials with GM-peas

Total number of proposals 5
Countries Germany 3, England 1, Czech Republic 1
Period 2000-2010
Traits Herbicide tolerance, molecular pharming, protein content
World wide
USA 42
Period 1993-2006
Additional countries Canada, Australia, India


An EU Research Project

What are the risks of growing GM crops?

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies have addressed the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants. Yet the existing evidence on the effects of GM plants is often contradictory and the quality of scientific research varies widely.

Therefore, the GRACE project will establish new tools for assessing the quality of existing studies and will conduct comprehensive reviews to identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants.

More information


GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Less soil erosion and fuel consumption: herbicide tolerant soybeans are promoting sustainable cultivation methods.


Glyphosate in European agriculture

Interview with a farmer

Glyphosate containing herbicides are not only used in fields with GM crops. They also allow conventional farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without ploughing. Glyphosate has replaced mechanical weed control in many crops and has had an important impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades.

European Glyphosate Task Force

 GMO Database
GM Food and Feed: Authorization in the EU
GMO Database: Contains information on every GM plant that has been approved or is awaiting authorisation in the EU.
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