Recent progress on environmental biosafety assessment of genetically modified trees and floricultural plants in Japan
A broad spectrum of living modified organisms (LMOs) have been developed and commercial production of them have already been started. It is the global requirement to conduct environmental biosafety after the implementation of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Environmental biosafety assessment is of cardinal importance even in confined field trials and at the deliberate release to an environment for practical uses. It is necessary to collect various categories of data prior to fields; not only about the morphological and physiological traits of the LMOs in some confined experimental facilities, but also about characteristics of host organisms in the natural habitat and field for intended releases. Environmental release of LMOs is possible only after collected information is examined systematically and comprehensively in a scientifically-sound manner, and target end-points of such uses are well-identified. Environmental biosafety assessments principally require case-by-case evaluation. Gene-flow, allelopathy and invasiveness are three key aspects in GM plants. In Japan, many crop species do not have their wild relatives due to their historical introduction from overseas. Furthermore, crops grow properly only under agricultural practices, and invasive weediness of these plants is very likely low. In contrast, floricultural plants and trees have related native species located around the fields that can cross with the transgenic counterparts in many cases. In this review, we examine the environmental biosafety assessment of LMO floricultural plants and trees enumerating the example of field trials in Japan, and describe concepts that should be noted for the commercial cultivation and environmental release of these species.
- Plant biotechnology
Plant biotechnology 25(1), 9-15, 2008-03-01
Japanese Society for Plant Cell and Molecular Biology