Scientific opinion addressing the safety assessment of plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis

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Article
EFSA Journal 2012;10(2):2561 [33 pp.].
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2561
EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Panel Members
Hans Christer Andersson, Salvatore Arpaia, Detlef Bartsch, Josep Casacuberta, Howard Davies, Patrick du Jardin, Gerhard Flachowsky, Lieve Herman, Huw Jones, Sirpa Kärenlampi, Jozsef Kiss, Gijs Kleter, Harry Kuiper, Antoine Messéan, Kaare Magne Nielsen, Joe Perry, Annette Pöting, Jeremy Sweet, Christoph Tebbe, Atte Johannes von Wright and Jean-Michel Wal
Acknowledgement

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on RA of plants developed through new techniques: John Bradshaw, Howard Davies, Huw Jones, Gijs Kleter, Harry Kuiper, Sirpa Kärenlampi, Kaare Magne Nielsen, Pere Puigdomenech, Annette Pöting, Jeremy Sweet for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion; the hearing expert: Evert Jacobsen; and EFSA staff: Yann Devos, Yi Liu and Nancy Podevin (coordinator) for the scientific support provided to this scientific opinion.

Contact
Type
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On Request From
European Commission
Question Number
EFSA-Q-2011-0152
Adopted
26 January 2012
Published
16 February 2012
Affiliation
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Note
Article (268.13 KB)268.13 KB
Abstract

The European Commission requested that the EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms deliver a scientific opinion related to risk assessment of cisgenic and intragenic plants. The EFSA GMO Panel considers that the Guidance for risk assessment of food and feed from genetically modified plants and the Guidance on the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants are applicable for the evaluation of food and feed products derived from cisgenic and intragenic plants and for performing an environmental risk assessment and do not need to be developed further. It can be envisaged that on a case-by-case basis lesser amounts of event-specific data are needed for the risk assessment. The EFSA GMO Panel compared the hazards associated with plants produced by cisgenesis and intragenesis with those obtained either by conventional plant breeding techniques or by transgenesis. The Panel concludes that similar hazards can be associated with cisgenic and conventionally bred plants, while novel hazards can be associated with intragenic and transgenic plants. The Panel is of the opinion that all of these breeding methods can produce variable frequencies and severities of unintended effects. The frequency of unintended changes may differ between breeding techniques and their occurrence cannot be predicted and needs to be assessed case by case. Independent of the breeding method, undesirable phenotypes are generally removed during selection and testing programmes by breeders. The risks to human and animal health and the environment will depend on exposure factors such as the extent to which the plant is cultivated and consumed.

Summary

Following a request from the European Commission (EC), the EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) was requested to deliver a scientific opinion on plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis in terms of the risks they might pose and the applicability of the existing guidance documents for their risk assessment. The mandate included two specific questions:

  1. Determine whether there is a need for new guidance or whether the existing guidance on risk assessment should to be updated or further elaborated, in anticipation of the placing of products on the market through the application of the listed techniques.
  2. What are the risks in terms of impact on humans, animals and the environment that the eight techniques listed could pose, irrespective of whether or not they fall under the GMO legislation? This latter request should consider the most recent scientific literature and knowledge of plant breeding experts and compare plants obtained by these new techniques with plants obtained by conventional plant breeding techniques and secondly with plants obtained with currently used genetic modification techniques.

The EFSA GMO Panel considers that the Guidance for risk assessment of food and feed from genetically modified plants (EFSA, 2011) and the Guidance on the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants (EFSA, 2010) are applicable for the evaluation of food and feed products derived from cisgenic and intragenic plants and for performing an environmental risk assessment and do not need to be developed further. It can be envisaged that on a case-by-case basis lesser amounts of event-specific data are needed for the risk assessment.

While addressing question two of the mandate, the EFSA GMO Panel compared the hazards associated with plants produced by cisgenesis and intragenesis with those obtained by either conventional plant breeding techniques or by transgenesis. The Panel concludes that similar hazards can be associated with cisgenic and conventionally bred plants, while novel hazards can be associated with intragenic and transgenic plants. The Panel is of the opinion that all of these breeding methods can produce variable frequencies and severities of unintended effects. The frequency of unintended changes may differ between breeding techniques and their occurrence cannot be predicted and needs to be assessed case by case. Independent of the breeding method, undesirable phenotypes are generally removed during selection and testing programmes by breeders. The risks to human and animal health and the environment will depend on exposure factors such as the extent to which the plant is cultivated and consumed.

Keywords
Cisgenic, cisgenesis, intragenic, intragenesis, transgenic, GM plant
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Number of Pages
33