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Workshop on the Confinement of Genetically Engineered Crops During Field Testing

Biotechnology Meetings


Workshop on the Confinement of Genetically Engineered Crops During Field Testing


On September 13-15, 2004, BRS conducted a workshop to review past results and obtain an update on the most recent scientific results relevant to biological dispersal and confinement of genetically engineered crops during field testing. The workshop brought together experts to present and consider past and current information relevant to biological and physical factors that influence the design, implementation, efficacy, and feasibility of measures used to confine transgenic plants and their progeny to the authorized field sites. This included measures that could be taken to limit gene flow beyond the authorized site, commingling with other crops, and persistence of transgenic plants in the environment following termination of the field trial. The workshop primarily concentrated on crop plants planted under APHIS permit as plant made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) and plant made industrials (PMIs). Three break-out groups considered: 1) wind pollinated crops using corn as a model, 2) self pollinated crops using rice as a model, and 3) insect pollinated crops using safflower as a model.

Proceedings were published that summarizes the information gathered during the workshop. Methods for physical, temporal, spatial and biological confinement of transgenes incorporated into wind pollinated, insect pollinated, and primarily self-pollinating crops are outlined along with information regarding their efficacy and feasibility of implementation. The effects of scale and use of models to predict or compare efficacy of options were also addressed. The workshop addressed the elements that determine confinement and how they shift in relation to each other. Information gathered during the workshop is summarized to illustrate the interaction of available tools for gene confinement to form a comprehensive and flexible approach to field testing. Scientific data and references are included in a Bibliography as part of the Proceedings.

Workshop Steering Committee :

  • Robyn Rose, Workshop Coordinator, Biotechnologist/Ecologist, USDA/APHIS/BRS
  • Susan Koehler, Chief of the Environmental and Ecological Analysis Branch, USDA/APHIS/BRS
  • Sally McCammon, Science Advisor, USDA/APHIS/BRS
  • Laura Bartley, AAAS Fellow with USDA/APHIS/BRS
  • Chris Wozniak, National Program Leader for Food Biotechnology and Microbiology, USDA/CSREES-PAS
  • Jim Knuteson, Senior Scientist, Dow AgroSciences, LLC
  • Alan Galbreth, Associate Director, Indiana Crop Improvement Association and Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA)
  • Norman Ellstrand, Professor of Genetics and Director, Biotechnology Impacts Center Department of Botany & Plant Sciences University of California
  • Mark Condon, Vice-President, American Seed Trade Association (ASTA)
  • Peter Bretting, National Program Leader Plant Germplasm & Genomes, USDA/ARS
  • Anne Fairbrothers, Chief, Risk Characterization Branch, USEPA/NHEERL/WED
  • Margaret Mellon, Director Food and Environment, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

Associated Meeting Information and Documents :


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