Biotech Updates

Biotech Papaya Safe for Soil Microbes

November 16, 2007

Biotech papaya with resistance to papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) was developed in Thailand years ago but commercial cultivation is not yet possible because of environmental and food safety concerns, in addition to the prevailing parliamentary discussion on biotech crop approval. To clarify the issue on environmental safety of PRSV-resistant papaya, especially on its effect in soil microbes, The Plant Genetic Engineering Unit (PGEU) of the Kasetsart University which developed transgenic PRSV-resistant papaya in Thailand, has conducted an environmental risk assessment of transgenic papayas on the total population and the possible horizontal transgene transfer in soil microbes in the area planted to transgenic papaya. Studies showed that there is no statistical difference in soil microbial populations in soils planted with non-transgenic and transgenic papayas. There is also no indication of the horizontal gene transfer of transgenic plant DNA to soil bacteria and fungi. These results suggest that transgenic papaya has no negative impact on soil microbes.

For details of the research, visit : . For more information, contact Supat Attathom of Biosafety and Biotechnology Information Center (BBIC) at