GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Fruit and Vegetables

Papayas


Papayas are grown in many tropical countries. But papaya cultivation is being threatened by Papaya Ringspot-Virus, a disease that is sharply lowering yields. 

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Since 1998, genetically modified papayas have been cultivated in Hawaii, USA. They are resistant to a domestic viral disease. In the EU, genetically modified papayas are not approved.

Cultivation of virus resistant papayas in Hawaii: On the left, rows of conventional papaya trees infested with the Ringspot Virus. On the right, genetically modified virus-resistant plants of the variety "Rainbow" . Photo: Dennis Gonsalves*

In the late 1980s, the University of Hawaii began developing a papaya cultivar resistant to Papaya Ringspot Virus. To do this, certain viral genes encoding  capsid proteins were transferred to the papaya genome. These viral capsid proteins elicit something similar to an "immune response" from the papaya plant. These new, genetically modified papaya plants are no longer susceptible to infection, allowing farmers to cultivate the fruit even when the virus is widespread.

The first virus resistant papayas were commercially grown in Hawaii in 1999. Transgenic papayas now cover about one thousand hectares, or three quarters of the total Hawaiian papaya crop.

Genetically modified papayas are approved for consumption both in the US and in Canada. Several Asian countries are currently developing transgenic papaya varieties resistant to local viral strains.

At this point, GM papayas are not approved in the EU. Until now, no application for approval has been submitted. Therefore, importing and marketing genetically modified papayas is not permitted in the EU.

 


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

Fruit and Vegetables
GMO-Procucts: Not to buy yet
Tomatoes
Bananas
Papayas
Apples
Grapevine
November 27, 2006 [nach oben springen]

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