EFSA safety assessment of plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis

By 12. March 2012Blog, Risk Management

The EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) was requested to deliver a scientific opinion on plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis in terms of the risks they might pose and the applicability of the existing guidance documents for their risk assessment. Of special interest was the question about the risks in terms of impact on humans, animals and the environment that the eight techniques listed could pose, irrespective of whether or not they fall under the GMO legislation.

The Panel concludes that similar hazards can be associated with cisgenic and conventionally bred plants, while novel hazards can be associated with intragenic and transgenic plants. The Panel is of the opinion that all of these breeding methods can produce variable frequencies and severities of unintended effects. The frequency of unintended changes may differ between breeding techniques and their occurrence cannot be predicted and needs to be assessed case by case. Independent of the breeding method, undesirable phenotypes are generally removed during selection and testing programmes by breeders. The risks to human and animal health and the environment will depend on exposure factors such as the extent to which the plant is cultivated and consumed.

The scientific opinion can be found on the EFSA website.