Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms in the Environment, Volume 7

OECD Consensus Documents

image of Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms in the Environment, Volume 7

Volume 7 of the Series compiles the OECD consensus documents for use in environmental risk assessment of transgenic organisms (biosafety) issued in 2016 and 2017.

The first two chapters cover the biology of plant species (sorghum and tomato) and include elements of taxonomy, centres of origin, reproductive biology, genetics, outcrossing, crop production and cultivation practices, interactions with other organisms, main pests and pathogens, and biotechnological developments.

The third chapter relates to Atlantic salmon, the first OECD biosafety publication to address an animal species. It describes the biology and ecology of wild salmon (including classification, life stages, reproduction, centres of origin, geographical distribution, population dynamics, interaction with other organisms) and of the farmed form (domestication, aquaculture rearing practices, biocontainment, interactions with the external environment). It also provides elements of genetics, research on genetically engineered salmon and resources for its risk assessment.



Foreword and Acknowledgements

From their first commercialisation in the mid-1990s, genetically engineered crops (also known as “transgenic” or “genetically modified” plants) have been approved for commercial release in an increasing number of countries, for planting, entering in the composition of foods and feeds, or use in industrial processing. Up to now, the majority of these agricultural productions remain for soybean, maize, cotton and rapeseed (canola) bearing pest resistance and/or herbicide tolerance traits aiming to improve yields and reduce the costs of production, as outlined in the OECD study Farm Management Practices to Foster Green Growth. Other engineered crops might gain importance and come into play in the short to medium term. Despite differences in total estimates, all analyses and statistics concur in underlining the general increasing trend in volumes produced and traded, and growth potential for agriculture productivity. For instance, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications reports in its annual Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops survey that the surface area of transgenic crops worldwide has constantly increased since the first commercial planting in 1996 to reach 185.1 million hectares grown in 26 countries in 2016. To date, genetically engineered varieties of over 25 different plant species (including crops, flowers and trees), and more recently of two animal species, have received regulatory approval in OECD and non-OECD economies alike. Such approvals for release in the environment usually follow a science-based risk/safety assessment before being granted.


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