Assessment & Impacts

Principles and Approaches Genetic interactions in ecosystems are more dynamic and complex than acknowledged so far. Genetic change and genetic exchange phenomena seem to occur more frequently in nature than in laboratories, and may be regulated by unknown environmental factors. Local environmental conditions and chemical contaminants (pesticides and other xenobiotics), that will undoubtedly vary in concentrations and combinations between different locations are examples of such environmental factors. These may have impacts on the extent of horizontal gene transfer, and on how modified genes are expressed and affect the recipient organisms. Consequently, it is important to establish model systems in the laboratory, which mimic the ecological interactions and complexity of the real world.

Basis for risk assessment and management:
Risk and probability are not the same. Risk can be defined as the probability of an occurrence of an incident or phenomenon, multiplied by the consequences arising therefrom, if it occurs. At this moment we know little about both probability and consequences in relation to putative health and environmental effects of many genetic engineering applications.

Horizontal gene transfer: Horizontal gene transfer signifies a non-sexual transmission of genetic information within or between species. The phenomenon is common in nature, but our knowledge concerning ecological processes promoting such events and barriers prohibiting them is scanty.

Socio-economic considerations: The impact of genetically modified organisms goes beyond ecological and health dimensions. They have profound impact on society, including livelihoods, production systems, trade, culture and ethics.

Gene Drives Not a Viable Route to Conservation

As there are currently no adequate scientific means to assess the evolutionary impacts of gene drives over time and space and given the risk of irreparable harm, the environmental release of gene drives should not be viewed as viable for biodiversity conservation. […]

Environmental Risks from Oilseed Crops Produced Using New Genomic Techniques

This study highlights the environmental risks associated with the use of new genomic techniques (NGT) on oilseed crops, such as negative effects on pollinators and increased risk of spread and persistence of NGT plants. […]

Getting Ahead of Challenges in the Risk Assessment and Management of GM Viruses

The horizon scan of GM virus applications in this study indicates that a number of significant challenges remain in the risk assessment and risk management of GM virus applications. […]

Current Characterization of GM Plants in the EU Inadequate for Effective Environmental Risk Assessment

Current approaches for the agronomic and phenotypic characterization of GM plants in EU market applications are inadequate for risk assessors to draw conclusions on environmental risks. […]

Robust Risk Assessment Urgently Needed for All New Genetically Engineered Plants

This study analyses the potential risks of new genomic techniques (NGT) and concludes that the associated unintended impacts urgently necessitate a uniform, robust risk assessment of all NGT plants. […]

Assessing Potential Environmental Effects of Genome-Editing Applications for Plants

This review identifies important elements for robust environmental risk assessment, which need to be taken into account for a risk-oriented regulatory approach towards genome-edited plant applications in the EU. […]

A Systems Biology Approach to Assessing Potential Unintended Effects in GM Crops

Empirical evidences shows that a science-based, risk-related approach based on omics techniques can be implemented for risk assessment of GMOs, to assess potential unintended effects. […]

Current Models Assessing Gene Drives Lack Ecological Realism

Given that the effects of gene drives in the environment may be irreversible, more ecological realism is needed in models used to assist environmental risk assessments. […]

Study Finds Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Urinary Oxidative Stress in Humans

Major new US government study finds a positive association between glyphosate exposure and urinary oxidative stress, a key characteristic of carcinogens, in humans. […]

Glyphosate Directly Causes Impaired Development and Mortality in Lacewing

Lacewing larvae fed with glyphosate at concentrations below recommended application doses showed arrested development and high mortality, revealing a gap in risk assessment that does not test direct oral exposure of insects to systemic herbicides. […]