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A framework for postrelease environmental monitoring of second-generation crops with novel traits.

Beckie, H.J., Hall, L.M., Simard, M.-J., Leeson, J.Y., and Willenborg, C.J. (2010). "A framework for postrelease environmental monitoring of second-generation crops with novel traits.", Crop Science, 50(5), pp. 1587-1604. doi : 10.2135/cropsci2009.12.0743  Access to full text

Abstract

As first-generation genetically modified/transgenic crops with novel agronomic traits have been grown commercially in a number of countries since the mid-1990s, second-generation crops with novel traits (CNTs) are now being tested in confined field trials around the world. Postrelease monitoring (PRM) of abiotic stress-tolerant and other second-generation CNTs will strengthen prerelease environmental risk assessments, for which protocols are being developed. We outline a comprehensive framework and protocol for case-specific PRM of such CNTs in Canada, using drought-tolerant canola (Brassica napus L.) as a model CNT. The primary potential environmental risk associated with cultivation of drought-tolerant canola is increased invasiveness of volunteers or feral plants (self-perpetuating populations) and weedy relative-crop hybrids or backcrossed progeny in ruderal (noncropped disturbed) and natural areas adjacent to CNT cultivation, resulting in loss of abundance or biodiversity of native plant species. Accurately predicting CNT invasiveness a priori is problematic, especially for traits that may enhance plant fitness and invasiveness. Thus, PRM can effectively address the greater uncertainties in the environmental risk assessment of these second-generation vs. first-generation CNTs and thereby enhance environmental protection and security of the food supply.

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