Biotech Updates

Scientist Evaluates Need for Additional Considerations in Risk Assessment of GM Plants

January 13, 2012

Mohammad Sayyar Khan conducted a review on environmental risk assessment of biotech crops with abiotic stress tolerance. He investigated if these crops with complex traits would need additional considerations in the risk assessment process.

He studied the nature of salt tolerance-inducing codA gene representing other abiotic stress tolerance genes. He compared the risk assessment elements on insect resistance gene and salt tolerance gene considering several environmental issues such as competitiveness and weediness potential, gene flow frequency, production of harmful compounds, toxicity to non-target and beneficial insects, and effects on soil organisms. Based on Khan's analysis, he concluded that the use of abiotic stress tolerance genes in biotech plants does not need additional considerations in risk assessment because abiotic stress tolerance genes are mostly taken from plants and thus their encoded proteins or at least their end products are not new to plants. The encoded proteins do not introduce new pathways or functions that may pose adverse effects to the environment and human health.

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