Environmental risk assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - Identification of Data Needs (NT TR 523)

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  • Report #: NT TR 523
  • Approved: March 2003
  • Author(s): Beate Strandberg, Christian Kjær, Kjetil Hindar, Bjørn Åge Tømmerås
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Abstract

It was the aim of this NordTest project to propose improvements that prepare us to assess ecological risks to the environment associated with releases of existing and coming GMO cases.

The report is separated into three sections. The first describes the frames of ecological risk assessment of genetically modified plants. This chapter describes both the legislation within the EU and the state of the technology (existing and coming cases). Furthermore, a presentation of the ecological concerns discussed in the report, i.e. invasion, introgression and adverse effects on non-target organisms for annual plants, trees and fish, respectively, and suggests a structural/hierarchical decision system for information requirements. The latter should aid to eliminate the ‘high-risk’ products at an early stage and to improve the design of tests at higher tiers.

The second section works with specific requirements for the ecological risk assessment of longlived species like tree species and fish.

The third and last section characterise the specific conditions and requirements prevailing in the Nordic region. It is recommended that new field releases and applications for marketing are accompanied by answers to the following questions:

  • Are the abiotic conditions under which tests for environmental risk assessment have been conducted relevant for the northern settings?
  • Does the inserted traits alter the cold tolerance of the transgenic organism, and if so, is range expansion likely?
  • Is the receiver plant native to the release area?
  • What are the agricultural settings under which dispersal studies have been conducted?
  • Were the consequences assessed for conditions comparable to the Nordic agri- and aquaculture?
  • Is it possible to remediate unwanted effects of a release?

Nordtest

Nordtest is a trademark of Nordic cooperation in conformity assessment. The emphasis of Nordtest is to develop, promote and innovate Nordic test methods and pre-normative activity. Nordtest endeavours to remove technical barriers to trade and promotes the concept: “Approved once, accepted everywhere”.