Selective advantage and potential for increased weediness or
- F3'5'H and Cytb5 genes
There is no reason to assume that carnation plants from spilled or
discarded carnation exhibit an increased potential to survive, as a
result of the modified colour of flowers by expression of the
F3'5'H and Cytb5 genes. The gene products of F3'5'H and Cytb5 genes
are involved in the biosynthesis of the pigment delphinidin in
petals. Accumulation of these pigments in petals results in a
purple flower colour. This accumulation results in a modified
flower colour and does not alter the biological characteristics of
carnation. Therefore it is highly unlikely that the genetically
modified carnation line IFD-26407-2 exhibits a selective advantage
over non-modified carnation, based on the presence of the F3'5'H
and Cytb5 genes.
- SuRB gene
Carnation is not considered to be a weed in Europe. Carnation
plants resistant to sulfonylurea herbicides can only exhibit a
selective advantage after application of such herbicide. However,
sulfonylurea herbicides are not designed/registered for use with
ornamentals. Sulfonylureas are not effective against grasses, the
major weeds of concern in the flower industry. The notifier
prohibits use of sulfonylureas on their crops by their contract
growers. The herbicide is not generally used for widescale control
of weeds outside agriculture.
Effects on non-target organisms
The environment in which the imported flowers will be used, the
relatively small number of flowers imported, their dispersal across
Europe, and the short longevity of the flowers are all factors that
preclude any direct or indirect interaction between the genetically
modified carnation and non-target organism.
Therefore it is highly unlikely that non-target organisms will be
affected as a result of import of cut flowers of line
Effects on the soil ecosystem
Because the products are to be imported as cut flowers, no
cultivation takes place. As the genetically modified carnation
plants have similar production requirements as other carnations,
any impact is no different to that of conventional carnation.
Flowers imported to the EU will eventually be discarded in domestic
and commercial waste, but the volume of the flowers and the fact
that the products will be widely dispersed mean the organic mass is
negligible. In addition, the compounds responsible for the
colouration of the flowers are natural compounds which are widely
present in the environment.
Therefore it is highly unlikely that any adverse effect on the soil
ecosystem will occur as a result of imported or discarded
genetically modified carnation.
Toxicity and allergenicity
Carnation has been used safely by humans for ornamental purposes
for centuries. The modification in line IFD-26407-2 (production of
delphinidin) is novel for carnation, but there are many flowers and
other ornamental species that produce delphinidin, such as
Gentiana, Petunia, Centaurea and Delphinium. Delphinidin is also
present in many common foods, such as red grapes, black currants,
egg plant and blueberry. Toxicity studies of delphinidins indicate
very low levels of toxicity. Humans are commonly exposed to and
ingest delphinidins in fruits and vegetables at similar or greater
concentrations than are found in genetically modified carnation,
without adverse effects.
- F3'5'H and Cytb5 proteins
Possible negative effects on human and animal health as a result of
incidental consumption of petal leaves of carnation, for example as
garnishing for food, were considered. The proteins for modified
flower colour expressed in genetically modified carnation (F3'5'H
and Cytb5) are similar to those found in purple-coloured fruits and
vegetables that are commonly consumed, and in ornamental flowers.
No homology was found between the inserted genes and known toxins
An Ames mutagenicity test was performed and no indication of
toxicity was found.
Reports of allergenicity to carnations are rare and there are no
reports of allergenicity to genetically modified carnation.
- SuRB protein
ALS enzymes are widely distributed among bacteria, yeast and higher
plants. The SuRB gene codes for an alternative form of the
acetolacetate synthase enzyme. This enzyme is not a known toxin or
allergen and related enzymes are expressed in a variety of edible
plants (e.g. soy bean and rice).
No homology was found between the SuRB gene and known toxins or
Based on the nature of the inserted genes, the results of
abovementioned Ames test and the history of safe use of similar
genetically modified carnation lines, it is concluded that it is
highly unlikely that the genetically modification in carnation line
IFD-26407-2 will cause an adverse effect on the human health with
respect to incidental human consumption or allergenicity, as
compared to conventionally bred carnation.
Change in agricultural practice
Since the notification covers only import, distribution and
retailing of the genetically modified carnation, possible adverse
environmental effects by changes in agricultural practice are not
considered of importance for the risk analysis.