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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.

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Research news

EU research project GRACE publishes first study findings


The project is investigating which methods are suitable for assessing the risk of genetically modified plants. The safety of genetically modified (GM) plants has long been a subject of controversy. A key question is which test methods can reliably identify the medium- and long-term health impacts of eating GM crops. The GRACE research project was asked by the European Commission to test various methods for this purpose. They included 90-day and one-year animal feeding trials with rodents, and in vitro methods, which can for instance be used to test the effects of GM plants on cell cultures.

 

Published in Archives of Toxicology:

Ninety‑day oral toxicity studies on two genetically modified maize MON810 varieties in Wistar Han RCC rats (EU 7th Framework Programme project GRACE)

The feeding trial

In this study, which was published recently in Archives of Toxicology, scientists conducted a 90-day feeding trial on rats. The animals were given two different varieties of MON810 GM maize. The control groups were given the non-GM parent variety or one of four conventional maize varieties as part of their diet. The results showed that the two GM maize varieties tested did not trigger any negative effects in the trial animals.

The study systematically implemented and validated the guidance issued by the European Food Safety Authority in 2011 for 90-day feeding trials with whole GM plant material. In 2013, the European Commission passed an implementing regulation making this type of feeding trial mandatory for the authorisation of GM plants. At the same time, the EU-funded GRACE research project was tasked with checking whether such studies can in fact provide additional information for risk assessments of GM plants.

The recent publication does not yet provide any answers to this question. Conclusions concerning any potential added scientific value of these trials for risk assessments will be drawn only once the one-year feeding study is complete and alternative in vitro methods have been tested. There are also plans to involve a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the evaluation of the results.

 

Transparency and stakeholder involvement: fundamental principles of GRACE

The study plans and conclusions from the results obtained to date have been discussed during extensive consultations with stakeholders. The relevant consultation reports are published on the GRACE project website. For reasons of transparency, GRACE also publishes all the raw data from the studies it has conducted. These will soon be available via the CADIMA database.

In addition to GRACE, two other research projects are currently testing the suitability of extended feeding trials for assessing the health risks of GM plants: another EU research project, G-TwYST, and a French project, GMO90+, have agreed a joint publication strategy with GRACE, as well as shared use of plant material and samples and unrestricted data sharing. There are plans to publish all the results of these projects as open-access papers in the specialist journal Archives of Toxicology. Other experts in the field, stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited to take part in a scientific discussion of the results. Comments on the publications can be submitted in the form of letters to the editor. These contributions will be published in Archives of Toxicology together with responses from the relevant research projects.

 

Further information:


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


Videos:

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.

Source:
European Glyphosate Task Force

Animation: The Authorisation Process in Motion!
Applying, consulting, and making a decision: The long and winding road to GMO authorisation in EU
start animation
 Biosafety research:

Impact of Bt maize on
insect communities


Impact of Bt maize on
honey bees

More videos

 
Jenny asks: How does the PCR method work?


At Germany's Institute for the Chemical and Veterinary Analysis of Food (CVUA) in Freiburg they use the PCR method to test food for traces of GM plants.

 
Jenny asks: How does Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer work?


Agrobacteria are a naturally occurring species of soil bacteria, which are able to transfer genes to plant cells. But how does this work? Jenny asks Thorsten Manthey of RLP AgroScience.

October 17, 2014 [nach oben springen]

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