Opinion of the Scientific Panel on genetically modified organisms [GMO] on an application (Reference EFSA GMO UK 2004 06) for the placing on the market of insect-protected glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified maize MON863 x NK603, for food and feed


EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Panel Members
Hans Christer Andersson, Detlef Bartsch, Hans-Joerg Buhk, Howard Davies, Marc De Loose, Michael Gasson, Niels Hendriksen, John Heritage, Sirpa Kärenlampi, Ilona Kryspin-Sørensen, Harry Kuiper, Marco Nuti, Fergal O’Gara, Pere Puigdomenech, George Sakellaris, Joachim Schiemann, Willem Seinen, Angela Sessitsch, Jeremy Sweet, Jan Dirk van Elsas and Jean-Michel Wal.

The GMO Panel wishes to thank Gijs Kleter and Richard Phipps for their contributions to the draft opinion.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
Question Number
6 July 2005
12 July 2005
Last Updated
6 July 2006. This version replaces the previous one/s.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Article (222.91 KB)222.91 KB

This document provides an opinion of the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO Panel) of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on genetically modified maize MON 863 x NK603 (Unique Identifier MON-ØØ863-5 x MON-ØØ6Ø3-6) to provide protection against specific coleopteran pests and tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate.

In delivering its opinion the Panel considered the application, additional information provided by the applicant and comments submitted by the Member States. Further information from applications for placing the single insert lines MON 863 and NK603 on the market under EU regulatory procedures was taken into account where appropriate.

MON 863 x NK603 maize was assessed with reference to the intended uses and the appropriate principles described in the Guidance document of the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and derived food and feed. The scientific assessment included molecular characterisation of the inserted DNA and expression of target proteins. A comparative analysis of agronomic traits and composition was undertaken and the safety of the new proteins and the whole food/feed was evaluated with respect to toxicity and allergenicity. Both a nutritional and an environmental assessment, including monitoring plans, were undertaken.

MON 863 maize was developed to provide protection against certain coleopteran pests, principally corn rootworm (Diabrotica spp.) by the introduction of a variant Bacillus thuringiensis cry3Bb1 gene expressing an insecticidal protein. MON863 has received an EFSA opinion in favour of its authorisation. NK603 was developed to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate by the introduction of a gene coding for 5-enoylpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4 (CP4 EPSPS). NK603 has received an opinion in favour of its authorisation and was authorised under Directive 2001/18/EC by Commission Decision 2004/643/EC. The use of food and food ingredients from NK603 maize was authorised under Regulation (EC) No 258/97 by Commission Decision 2005/448/EC.

MON863 x NK603 maize was produced by crosses between maize inbred lines containing MON 863 and NK603 events to combine the rootworm resistance trait in MON 863 and the tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate in NK603.

Molecular analysis of the DNA inserts present in the MON 863 x NK603 maize confirmed that the insert structures of the single events were retained.

Cry3Bb1 and CP4 EPSPS protein levels in kernels of the MON 863 x NK603 maize were comparable to the individual MON 863 and NK603 lines.

The safety of the Cry3Bb1, CP4 EPSPS and NptII proteins has previously been assessed in the single events for which positive opinions were issued.

MON863 x NK603 maize was found to contain transgenic proteins associated with the introduced transgenic traits of insect- and herbicide-resistance. Besides these deliberate changes, this maize showed no marked alterations in composition, agronomy and phenotype compared with the control lines and reference lines. The Panel therefore concludes that MON863 x NK603 maize is compositionally and phenotypically equivalent to its parental single-trait GM lines and non-genetically modified maize, except for the introduced traits.

A 90 day sub chronic rodent study with MON 863 x NK603 maize indicated that there are no adverse effects from its consumption.

Feeding studies conducted on broilers with MON 863 x NK603 maize showed no adverse effects. The Panel considers that the nutritional properties of this maize would be no different from those of conventional maize.

The application EFSA GMO UK 2004 06 concerns food and feed uses, import and processing. There is therefore no requirement for scientific information on possible environmental effects associated with the cultivation of the maize lines. The GMO Panel agrees that unintended environmental effects due to the establishment and spread of GM maize will not be different from that of traditionally bred maize. The monitoring plan provided by the applicant is in line with the intended uses for the GMO.

In conclusion, the Panel considers that the information available for MON 863 x NK603 maize addresses the outstanding questions raised by the Member States and considers that it will not have adverse effects on human and animal health or the environment in the context of its proposed use.

For citation purposes: Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms on an application (reference EFSA GMO UK 2004 06) for the placing on the market of insect-protected glyphosate- tolerant genetically modified maize MON 863 x NK603, for food and feed uses, import and processing under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from Monsanto, The EFSA Journal (2005)255, 1 21.

GMOs, maize, MON 863, NK603, MON 863 x NK603, insect protection, MON-ØØ863-5 x MON-ØØ6Ø3-6, glyphosate resistance, Cry3Bb1, NptII, CP4 EPSPS, food safety, feed safety, human health, environment, import, Regulation (EC) No 258/97, Directive 2001/18/EC, Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003.