GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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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.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

More information and access to the online survey

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Genetic engineering of cut flowers

In the past, roses were simply yellow, red or white. Blue roses could not exist: these plants are unable to produce blue pigments naturally. By means of gene technology, this goal has been reached. This is not all: in labs around the world, designer cut flowers are being created with exceptional colours, with prolonged shelf-life, with added fragrances or with built-in frost protection. GM cut flowers can be bought in the EU as well.

Blue roses: The new chromatics of genetic engineering

According to the Australian corporation and market leader Florigene, owned by Japanese group Suntory, novelties sustain the industry. With help of gene technology, new creations could enhance their high market potential. Today, about $40 billion are converted yearly with cut flowers, of which roses have a market share of $10 billion. Plant growers have gone to great lengths for centuries in the quest to grow a blue rose but Florigene is the first corporation that has been able to do so.

Even though this new rose is rather violet than dark blue, the company believes to be close to the goal. This colour change in roses was effected through the transfer of a gene found in violets that controls the production of the blue pigment called Delphinidin. Simultaneously, rose genes that usually produce red and orange pigments were made inoperative.

In 1996, Florigene already had made the first genetically modified, market-ready cut flowers. A pale, violet-coloured carnation with the name of Moondust was presented by the company. To date, five more species of carnations have been added that feature different tones of violet and blue. Four of these species are permitted for marketing within the EU. To date, over 75 million of these flowers were sold worldwide.

Further products are being developed at other corporations. More than two dozen field tests with new designer plants have been permitted. Among them are light blue torenias, bronze coloured forsythia, and yellow petunias. Using gene-technological methods other new characteristics are underway:

  • New fragrances: At the University of Florida, experiments as being conducted to return to roses scents that have been lost during breeding.

  • Prolonged shelf-life: Researchers at the University of Hannover in Germany are developing methods to delay the withering of Flaming Katies and Canterbury bluebells.

  • Improved resistance: The German corporation, Ornamental Bioscience, is working with petunias and poinsettias that are able to endure low temperatures and drought. The flowers are so able to tolerate long – haul transports. Petunias made by this company are already able to withstand minus 6 degrees Celsius without being damaged, but will not be ready for the market until 2011.


For the EU, there are also clear labelling regulations for gene modified cut flowers. The carnations ‘Moonlite’ must carry a label with the remark that ‘this product is a genetically modified carnation’ and is ‘not suitable for consumption by humans or animals’.





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

The issue of contradictory results of biosafety studies
Opposition decreasing or acceptance increasing?
An overview of European consumer polls on attitudes to GMOs
German ban on MON810 maize: will the courts now decide?
China plans to invest in GM crops R&D and consumer education
"Find the wisdom to allow GM technology to flourish"
Results of the GMO Compass snapshot poll
Genetic engineering of cut flowers
Preliminary studies raise hopes: Golden Rice works well!
GMO labelling of foodstuffs produced from animals – the discussion continues
GM Crops in Australia – will the moratoria end?
International study: consumers would buy GM products
GM plants no problem for the honey industry
Are GMOs Fuelling the Brazilian Future?
Latest Eurobarometer: Yes to Biotech – No to GM Food
Barley, Beer and Biotechnology
Farm Fresh Pharmaceuticals
Study: GM Soy Dangerous for Newborns?
Safety evaluation: GM peas in Australia with unexpected side-effects
The western corn rootworm: A pest coming to a maize field near you
Plants for the Future
March 14, 2008 [nach oben springen]

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