The application of RNA interference (RNAi) to produce genetically
engineered crops with improved agronomic, nutritional, industrial,
and food-processing traits is becoming increasingly common. As new
products approach commercialization, it is timely to consider
whether the approach currently applied to the environmental risk
assessment (ERA) of genetically engineered crops expressing novel
proteins remains appropriate for the ERA of genetically engineered
plants utilizing RNAi approaches. This question was the subject of
the conference "Problem Formulation for the Environmental Risk
Assessment of RNAi Plants" convened by the Center for Environmental
Risk Assessment (CERA), ILSI Research Foundation June 1-3, 2011.
The objectives of the conference were:
1. To share information about current applications of RNAi for
genetically engineered plants;
2. To use case studies to explore whether problem formulation for
RNAi plants leads to new or additional risk hypotheses when
compared with non-RNAi plants expressing similar traits, or if new
risk assessment methodologies are necessary.
This report summarizes the proceedings of the conference, including
presentations, case studies, a summary of discussions, and the
points of consensus agreed by the participants.