More than 100 scientific experts attended EFSA’s international workshop on RNAi (ribonucleic acid interference) in genetically modified (GM) plants in Brussels. The two-day event on 4-5 June provided a unique forum for specialists from four continents to pool knowledge and provide insights on the biology of RNAi, current and future applications of RNAi-based GM plants, and issues specific to their risk assessment.
The team from EFSA was joined by scientists and experts on risk assessment from academia, risk evaluation bodies, NGO’s and the private sector from the Americas, Asia and all over Europe.
Presentations ranged from overviews of the latest science on RNAi in plants, mammals and invertebrates to those exploring current and future RNAi applications. Participants also examined potential risk assessment aspects specific to RNAi-based plants in three separate break-out sessions. Each session focused on one of the three main areas of GM plant risk assessment: molecular characterisation; food/feed safety assessment; and environmental risk assessment.
Elisabeth Waigmann, Head of EFSA’s GMO Unit, said: “The contributions, both from delegates delivering presentations and those providing questions and comments from the floor, was truly exceptional. It was inspiring to be part of such a collaborative and productive event. These valuable insights will make an important contribution to EFSA’s considerations on the risk assessment strategy for RNAi-based GM plants. We would like to extend our thanks to all those who participated.”
Programme and Participant list
Several speakers have given EFSA permission to reproduce their presentations and these are listed below: