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Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2012-05-04 15:37 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)
Date of last update
2012-05-07 20:38 UTC (andrew.bowers@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2012-05-07 20:38 UTC (andrew.bowers@cbd.int)

General Information
Improving risk assessment for nontarget safety of transgenic crops
Michelle Marvier
Author’s contact information
Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Institute
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California 95053

E-mail: mmarvier@scu.edu
  • English
Publication date
Summary, abstract or table of contents

In many countries, government regulations require environmental risk assessment prior to commercial sale and widespread planting of transgenic crops. Here I evaluate the design and statistical rigor of experiments used by industry to assess the safety of transgenic plants for nontarget organisms, as required under U.S. regulations. This review reveals that a few simple improvements in experimental design could greatly increase the rigor and information content of studies required under current regulations. For example, although most experiments were conducted for 1-4 wk, some of the tested species can live a year or more and could experience much longer periods of exposure. Moreover, the number of replicates used in these studies was generally quite small (usually 2-6 replicates per treatment), resulting in experiments that had little chance of detecting real effects. Clearly, sample sizes should be bolstered, and nonsignificant results should be accompanied by an analysis of statistical power. In addition, information readily available over the Internet is insufficient for a quantitative assessment of a transgenic crop's safety. Improved access to information regarding the details of risk assessment studies could greatly increase the public's ability to evaluate industry's claims of safety.
Thematic areas
Background material to the “Guidance on risk assessment of living modified organisms”
Is this document is recommend as background material for the “Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms”
Section(s) of the “Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms” this background material is relevant
Additional Information
Type of resource
  • Article (journal / magazine / newspaper)
ISSN: 1051-0761
Publisher and its location
Ecological Society of America, Washington, DC
© 2002 Ecological Society of America
6 page PDF
Ecological Applications
Keywords and any other relevant information
Key words: Bacillus thuringiensis; Bt toxin; experimental design; genetically engineered crops; insecticidal properties; nontarget organisms; risk analyses; sample size; statistical power; transgenic crops.

Citation: Ecological Applications, 12(4), 2002, pp. 1119-1124
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