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Updated scientific opinion on plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis

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In 2012, EFSA issued an opinion on plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis. With the development of New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) in the last decade, cisgenic and intragenic plants can now be obtained with the insertion of a desired sequence in a precise location of the genome. EFSA has been requested by European Commission to provide an updated scientific opinion on the safety and the risk assessment of plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis, in order to (i) identify potential risks, comparing them with those posed by plants obtained by conventional breeding and Established Genomic Techniques (EGTs) and (ii) to determine the applicability of current guidelines for the risk assessment of cisgenic and intragenic plants. The conclusions of the previous EFSA opinion were reviewed, taking into consideration the new guidelines and the recent literature. The GMO panel concludes that no new risks are identified in cisgenic and intragenic plants obtained with NGTs, as compared with those already considered for plants obtained with conventional breeding and EGTs. There are no new data since the publication of the 2012 EFSA opinion that would challenge the conclusions raised in that document. The conclusions of the EFSA 2012 Scientific Opinion remain valid. The EFSA GMO Panel reiterates from these conclusions that with respect to the source of DNA and the safety of the gene product, the hazards arising from the use of a related plant‐derived gene by cisgenesis are similar to those from conventional plant breeding, whereas additional hazards may arise for intragenic plants. Furthermore, the EFSA GMO Panel considers that cisgenesis and intragenesis make use of the same transformation techniques as transgenesis, and therefore, with respect to the alterations to the host genome, cisgenic, intragenic and transgenic plants obtained by random insertion do not cause different hazards. Compared to that, the use of NGTs reduces the risks associated with potential unintended modifications of the host genome. Thus, fewer requirements may be needed for the assessment of cisgenic and intragenic plants obtained through NGTs, due to site‐directed integration of the added genetic material. Moreover, the GMO panel concludes that the current guidelines are partially applicable and sufficient. On a case‐by‐case basis, a lesser amount of data might be needed for the risk assessment of cisgenic or intragenic plants obtained through NGTs.

This publication is linked to the following EFSA Journal article: