Biotech Updates

Transgenic Maize Does Not Cause Harm to Non-Target Organisms

April 6, 2022

A team of scientists from China and Switzerland studied the effects of pollen from genetically engineered (GE) maize on the ladybird beetle using omics approaches with feeding assays. Results found that the pollen may not lead to biologically relevant effects on the insect and the method is a useful strategy to assess biological impacts of GE on non-target organisms (NTOs).

The scientists used a total of 10 maize lines consisting of three GE lines and seven hybrid lines. Maize seeds were sown in a field station located in Gongzhuling City in China and were grown in the same environmental conditions. Pollen was collected during maize anthesis from each line and was subjected to combined omics and feeding assays to determine the effects on the ladybird beetle Propylea japonica.

The findings showed that genetic engineering caused the same differences in the proteome and metabolome levels of the maize pollen as with those observed in conventionally crossbred plants. These differences did not lead to unintended effects on NTOs that exceeded those observed on conventional crossbred lines. They concluded that the differences detected by omics experiments may not cause any biological relevant effects on NTOs, and that the methods they used are a valid approach to evaluate the biological relevance of compositional effects of genetic breeding.

For more details, read the full study published by Plants People Planet.

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