Scientific Opinion on applications (EFSA-GMO-UK-2008-57 and EFSA-GMO-RX-MON15985) for the placing on the market of insect-resistant genetically modified cotton MON 15985 for food and feed uses, import and processing, and for the renewal of authorisation of existing products produced from cotton MON 15985, both under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from Monsanto
Cotton MON 15985 was developed by biolistic transformation of cotton MON 531 to express Cry2Ab2 and GUS in addition to the Cry1Ac and NPTII proteins. Cry proteins in MON 15985 confer resistance to major lepidopteran cotton pests, whereas the GUS and NPTII proteins were used as markers during product development. Molecular characterisation of MON 15985 did not give rise to safety issues. The EFSA GMO Panel could not conclude on the potential occurrence of unintended effects for agronomic and phenotypic characteristics owing to data limitations. Compositional data gave no indication of unintended effects for which further assessment was needed. The Panel concludes that cotton MON 15985, as described in these applications, is as safe and nutritious as its conventional counterpart and other non-genetically modified varieties, and considers it unlikely that the overall allergenicity of the whole plant is changed. Environmental risk assessment was restricted to the exposure through faecal material from animals fed with cotton products of MON 15985 and its accidental spillage. Following a weight of evidence approach and considering the poor ability of cotton to survive outside cultivated land, despite the agronomic and phenotypic data limitations, the Panel concludes that there is very low likelihood of any adverse environmental impacts. The aadA and oriV sequences in MON 15985 may facilitate the stabilisation of nptII through double homologous recombination. However, considering the limited presence of intact DNA from MON 15985 in feed and the limited occurrence of horizontal transfer of DNA from plant material to bacteria, the Panel concludes that it is highly unlikely that nptII from MON 15985 will be transferred to bacteria.