GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
  Mar 27, 2017 | 8:23 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

The setting-up of this website was financially supported by the European Union within the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme from 1 January 2005 until 28 February 2007.

The European Commission and other EU agencies are not responsible for the content.
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Genetically Modified Plants and the Environment

Are genetically modified plants a threat to the environment? Up until now, genetically modified crops have not caused environmental problems. But each new genetically modified plant needs to be closely examined to find out if negative impacts on the environment could be possible down the road.

What is taken into consideration? Here are the most important areas of research.


Agricultural practices always have an effect on the diversity of wild plants found on the farm. Does growing certain genetically modified crops compromise biodiversity?



Effects on insects, spiders, and other animals
Genetic engineering has given plants a new way to defend themselves. When corn borer caterpillars start feeding on Bt maize, they soon die off, sparing the crop damage from one of its worst pests. Finding out if other organisms could become innocent victims is an important question addressed by environmental safety research.



Out-crossing: The spread of novel genes
It’s conceivable that an herbicide tolerance gene in a GM crop could make its way into other plants. This could make for weeds that are even more difficult for farmers to manage. Is this process already happening?


Out-crossing requires a compatible partner
Not all crops have wild relatives in Europe. Rapeseed does – maize, however, does not. Which crops could spread their genes?



House arrest for foreign genes
Farms of the future: GM plants could end up producing some of our most valuable pharmaceuticals. If plants like this are ever grown in the open, the genes responsible for producing novel active ingredients should under no circumstances find their way to other plants. How will this be kept from happening?



Crop specific information
Every crop has its own "biology", which means each crop has its own relationship to the environment. The likelihood of out-crossing or escaping cultivation vary considerably from crop to crop. Aspects of important crops that are critical for environmental risk assessment are presented below.



Sugar beet







Gene transfer to microorganisms
It is theoretically possible that novel genes in GM plants could be taken up by microorganisms. This might occur when plants rot or when genetic material lands on surfaces heavily populated with microorganisms. But how common is this process, and what could be its outcomes?



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

 GM Crops: Specific Information and Future Projects
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
 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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