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Assessment & Impacts » Ecological

Title: Review Finds GM Plants Have Adverse Environmental Impacts
Publication date: July 17, 2017
Posting date: July 17, 2017

THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Review Finds GM Plants Have Adverse Environmental Impacts

The assessment of the impact of GM crops on the environment has emerged as an essential component of GMO development and also in the international regulatory process. Generally, risks to the environment from GM crops are associated with biodiversity, gene flow and genetic recombination, and their evolution.

Powerful scientific techniques have caused dramatic expansion of GM crops, leading to altered agricultural practices posing direct and indirect environmental implications. A new review of scientific literature to date looks at the environmental impacts of GM plants. An increasing interest is noted among researchers and policy makers in exploring unintended effects of transgenes associated with gene flow, flow of naked DNA, weediness and chemical toxicity.

The review finds evidence that GM crops can have adverse impacts on the environment, such as modification in crop pervasiveness or invasiveness, the emergence of herbicide and insecticide tolerance, transgene stacking and disturbed biodiversity. It also discusses the undesirable impacts of GM crops and their products on target and non-target species.

Future perspectives are also discussed. Some of the recommendations are: (1) Complex food webs and food supplies should be considered case-by-case before the release of new transgene harboring resistance traits; (2) Multi-crop systems with a rotation should be implemented in areas of mono-crop GM culture; (3) While analyzing novel expressed proteins or unintentionally expressed proteins, their allergic and toxic effects should be predicted using bioinformatics tools; (4) Toxicology studies should be prolonged to the full life span of the test organism and other experimental mammals should also be considered for such tests; and (5) Sub-lethal effects on non-target species should be assessed for several successive generations rather than just one or two generations.

With best wishes,

Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
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Malaysia
Email: twn@twnetwork.org
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____________________________________________________________________________

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANTS: A REVIEW

Aristidis M. Tsatsakis, Muhammad Amjad Nawaz, Demetrios Kouretas, Georgios Balias,
Kai Savolainen, Victor A. Tutelyan, Kirill S. Golokhvast, Jeong Dong Lee, Seung Hwan Yang, Gyuhwa Chung
Environmental Research 156 (2017) 818–833
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.03.011


Powerful scientific techniques have caused dramatic expansion of genetically modified crops leading to altered agricultural practices posing direct and indirect environmental implications. Despite the enhanced yield potential, risks and biosafety concerns associated with such GM crops are the fundamental issues to be addressed. An increasing interest can be noted among the researchers and policy makers in exploring unintended effects of transgenes associated with gene flow, flow of naked DNA, weediness and chemical toxicity. The current state of knowledge reveals that GM crops impart damaging impacts on the environment such as modification in crop pervasiveness or invasiveness, the emergence of herbicide and insecticide tolerance, transgene stacking and disturbed biodiversity, but these impacts require a more in-depth view and critical research so as to unveil further facts. Most of the reviewed scientific resources provide similar conclusions and currently there is an insufficient amount of data available and up until today, the consumption of GM plant products are safe for consumption to a greater extent with few exceptions. This paper updates the undesirable impacts of GM crops and their products on target and non-target species and attempts to shed light on the emerging challenges and threats associated with it. Underpinning research also realizes the influence of GM crops on a disturbance in biodiversity, development of resistance and evolution slightly resembles with the effects of non-GM cultivation. Future prospects are also discussed.


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