Ecological impacts of traditional crop plants – a basis for the assessment of transgenic plants?

According to the EU Directive 90/220, genetically modified plants must undergo a risk assessment before they are to be released. The criteria only take account of direct effects of the plant and its new properties.

To make a broader based assessment, experience with conventionally bred plants using the OECD "concept of familiarity" must be included. To investigate the degree to which the EU catalogue of criteria allowed prediction of the possible ecological impact of the release of genetically modified plants, information on the observed ecological effects of the cultivation of conventionally bred plant species (corn, wheat, potatoes, rape, sunflowers, topinambour, apples, carrots, cock's-foot, black locust, spruce) was obtained through interviews with experts and literature searches.

In a second phase an attempt was made to find a link between the observed effects and the plant properties. These relationships could, however, only be established to a limited extent, and only if the time period and area under consideration were limited. The primary effects through plant properties and secondary effects through farming practices appeared to be largely interdependent. The effects of gene transfer and naturalisation, a main focus when assessing the risk of genetically modified plants, appeared, however, to be important more in theoretical than in practical terms. Three examples were selected and assessed using the EU Directive criteria. Recommendations concerning (pending) modifications to the EU criteria included the addition of a question on possible farming practice.

The project, commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency and executed in collaboration with the Seibersdorf Research Centre and the Austrian Ecology Institute, began in November 1994. The final report was published as a Federal Environment Agency monograph.

Publikationen

Publikationen

  • Torgersen, H., & Seifert, F. (2000). Precautionary Blockage of Agricultural Biotechnology. Journal Of Risk Research, 209-217.
  • Torgersen, H. (1999). Sicherheitsbestimmungen für transgene Nutzpflanzen – Auf dem Weg zum Gemeinsamen Markt?. Ita-Newsletter, 8-9.
  • Torgersen, H., Gaugitsch, H., Soja, G., & Jansen, I. (1998). Risk assessment of transgenic plants in analogy to conventional plants. Environmental Science And Pollution Research, 89-93.
  • Torgersen, H. (1997). Risk Assessment of Trangenic Plants: What can we learn from Ecological Impacts of Traditional Crops?. Binas News, 8-11.
  • Torgersen, H., Soja, G., Janssen, I., & Gaugitsch, H. (1997). Ecological Impacts of Traditional Crop Plants – A Basis for the Assessment of Transgenic Plants?. Biosafety Online Journal.
  • Torgersen, H. (1996). Analyse ökologischer Auswirkungen von land- und forstwirtschaftlichen Nutzpflanzen und eingeführten Arten als Basis für die Risikoabschätzung gentechnisch veränderter Pflanzen, Studie im Auftrag des UBA, ITA, Wien.
  • Torgersen, H. (1995). Assessing Stress Tolerant Oilseed Rape. Working Group Report, Proceedings ofthe International Conference on the Release and Use of Genetically Modified Organisms,Sustainable Development and Legal Control, 13.-14. 9. 1995, Oslo.
  • Gaugitsch, H., Torgersen, H., & (Hg.),. (1994). Umweltauswirkungen gentechnisch veränderter Organismen,Umweltbundesamt. Tagungsberichte Band 12.
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Konferenzbeiträge/Vorträge

Konferenzbeiträge/Vorträge

  • 30/11/1998
    Helge Torgersen: 
    Risk Assessment of Transgenic Plants – A Comparison with Pesticide Regulation
    Conference on ‚Ecological Risks and Prospects of Transgenic Plants – where do we go from here?', Bern
    Other Lecture
  • 10/10/1996
    Helge Torgersen: 
    Handling Virtual Releases I: How to Decide on Herbicide Tolerance
    EASST-4S Joint Conference, 10.-13. October, Bielefeld
    Other Lecture
  • 10/10/1996
    Helge Torgersen: 
    Handling Virtual Releases II: Politics over Science
    EASST-4S Joint Conference, 10.-13. October, Bielefeld
    Other Lecture
  • 12/09/1996
    Helge Torgersen: 
    Ecological Impacts of Traditional Crop Plants – A Basis for the Assessment of Transgenic Plants ?
    FoEE Workshop on International Biosafety, Brüssel
    Other Lecture
  • 15/06/1995
    Helge Torgersen: 
    Specific criteria for the assessment of releases of genetically modifiedmicroorganisms
    plants and animals, 7th European Congress on Biotechnology at Nice
    Other Lecture
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Duration

12/1993 - 12/1996