EFSA updates on its work on ARMGs

EFSA has asked its GMO and BIOHAZ Panels to further consider the issue of antibiotic resistance marker genes (ARMG)[1] in GM plants following the adoption of their joint scientific opinion.

Two members of the BIOHAZ Panel expressed minority opinions concerning the possibility of adverse effects of antibiotic resistance marker genes on human health and the environment. EFSA has asked the Panels to consider whether the minority opinions require further clarification of the current joint scientific opinion, and, if further scientific work is needed, what the nature of this work might be.

The Panels will discuss these questions by the end of May after which EFSA will provide an update on this work.

The European Commission asked EFSA in 2008 to prepare a consolidated scientific opinion on the use of antibiotic marker genes in GM plants intended or already authorised to be placed on the market. EFSA was also asked to indicate the possible consequences of this consolidated opinion on the previous EFSA assessments on individual GMOs containing antibiotic resistance marker genes.

[1] Marker genes encoding resistance to specific antibiotics may be used in genetic modification to help identify GM cells among the untransformed cells.