GMO's in integrated plant production

Keywords

Bacillus thuringiensis, beneficial organisms, environmental risk assessment, IPM, monitoring, regulation, resistance management

Convenor MEISSLE Michael
Liaison-Officer BARDIN Marc

Structure and Activity

The group is open to basic and applied scientists from public research institutions, regulatory agencies, and the private sector. Working group meetings are organized at two-year intervals. A programme committee is installed for each meeting. Meeting proceedings are published in the IOBC bulletin.

Aim

Genetically modified (GM) crops are grown commercially on steadily increasing areas worldwide. Most important for commercial cultivation are herbicide tolerant crops (HT crops) and insect resistant crops expressing cry genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt-crops). In the recent years, several traits have been stacked into single plants and a range of novel traits, technologies, and plant breeding techniques have been developed. Examples of novel traits are improved nutritional or industrial properties of plants, tolerance to abiotic stress, and resistance to diseases. Novel technologies include the use of RNAi for pest control and modern plant breeding techniques allow precise changes at highly specific gene sequences.

The potential environmental and socioeconomic impact of GM crops are still hotly debated within the scientific community as well as in public and politics. The working group aims to provide a platform for open scientific discussions. The focus of the group is to explore how GM crops can contribute to more sustainable agricultural systems.

Since the establishment of the working group in 2003, the following objectives have been followed (see Profile 34):

    1. Exchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge on the ecological impact of genetically modified organisms
    2. Evaluate the compatibility and integration of genetically modified organisms with biological control and IPM
    3. Resistance management of the target organisms
    4. Development and harmonisation of methods for testing the ecological impact of genetically modified organisms

To maintain independence from commercial interests, meetings and other activities of this working group have been organized without funding from the private sector (click here to view open letter to EFSA).

Activities and Achievements

Seven working group meetings have been organized between 2003 and 2015. The proceedings have been published in the IOBC-WPRS Bulletin (see Table for meeting locations, dates, and Bulletin volumes).

Location

Country

Date

IOBC-WPRS Bulletin

Prague

Czech Republic

26.-29.11.2003

Vol. 27 (3), 2004

Lleida

Spain

01.-03.06.2005

Vol. 29 (5), 2006

Warsaw

Poland

23.-25.05.2007

Vol. 33, 2008

Rostock

Germany

14.-16.05.2009

Vol. 52, 2010

České Budějovice

Czech Republic

22.-25.06.2011

Vol. 73, 2012

Berlin

Germany

03.-05.06.2013

Vol. 97, 2013

Sofia

Bulgaria

01.-03.06.2015

in preparation

Information on upcoming meetings can be found here.

The convenor of the WG from 2003 to 2013 was Jörg Romeis from Agroscope, Switzerland. Since 2013, Michael Meissle from the same institution is leading the group.

Guidelines for non-target risk-assessment of GMOs and regulation were the focus of a special WG activity from 2006 to 2013. The participants developed a generic risk assessment concept for non-target organisms (Romeis et al., 2008), guidance and recommendations on experimental design for early tier laboratory studies (Romeis et al. 2011, open access), and criteria for the selection of non-target organisms for risk assessment (Romeis et al. 2013, open access).

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