2017-12-28 |

Combinatorial Effects of Stacked GM Plants Deserve Proper Assessment

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has a leading role to give scientific advice to the EU Commission, the European Parliament and to the EU member-states. EFSA advice is aimed at protecting consumers and the food chain.

Recent GM plants tend to include both insect resistance and herbicide tolerance traits. Some of these ’stacked’ GM plants have multiple Cry-toxinsexpressed as well as tolerance to several herbicides. This means that non-target organisms in the environment (biodiversity) will be co-exposed to multiple stressors simultaneously, raising concerns over combinatorial or interactive effects. Industry data has showed that stacked Bt expressing plants may express higher levels of distinct Cry-toxins compared with the mother lines. A similar co-exposure may happen to consumers through chemical residues in the food chain.

EFSAhas expressed scientific interest in and requested for research on such combinatorial effects. A recent journal article discusses EFSA's response to one such study submitted by Bohn et al. in 2016.