Application for import of MON88302 oilseed rape
This advice concerns an application for import and processing of genetically modified MON88302 oilseed rape. MON88302 expresses a cp4 epsps gene conferring tolerance to glyphosate containing herbicides.
Oilseed rape has established itself in the Netherlands and is present across the country in small, local populations that are nearly always located on highly disturbed soil. Oilseed rape is present close to locations where seed spillage occurs or where oilseed rape is cultivated and does not establish well in existing vegetations.
Oilseed rape is mainly a self-pollinating species, but outcrossing (30%) may occur. Controlled pollination studies have shown that oilseed rape can outcross with several of the wild relatives that occur in the Netherlands. Most hybrids have a severely reduced fertility. Exceptions are hybrids obtained from crosses between oilseed rape (B. napus) and turnip (B. rapa).
The establishment of small populations of MON88302 oilseed rape on locations where glyphosate is frequently applied to control weeds e.g. on railway tracks, cannot be excluded. If small MON88302 populations would become established, these could cross-fertilise other oilseed rape plants and/or wild relatives, in particular turnip. Apart from the glyphosate tolerance trait, the resulting progeny will not possess a higher fitness and will not be different from progeny arising from cross-fertilisation with conventional oilseed rape varieties.
COGEM recommends including the monitoring of distribution routes for the occurrence of oilseed rape volunteers and populations in the monitoring plan. There is a small chance that cross-fertilisation could lead in the future to the stacking of several transgenes in a single oilseed rape plant. COGEM is of the opinion that stacking of the traits present in currently authorised oilseed rape varieties will not lead to an environmental risk because under natural conditions these traits are unlikely to lead to an increased fitness or a selective advantage. However, it is important to know whether stacked events arise in order to allow future risk assessments to take the presence of established GM oilseed rape with stacked traits into account. A stacked event would most likely occur in a location where herbicides are frequently used, such as railway tracks. Therefore, COGEM advises to involve railway companies and/or companies in charge of the maintenance of railway tracks in the post-market monitoring plan in order to monitor the occurrence of GM oilseed rape on railway tracks.
In conclusion, COGEM is of the opinion that import and processing of MON88302 oilseed rape poses a negligible risk to the environment. However, COGEM is of the opinion that the monitoring plan of MON88302 should be improved before a market authorisation is granted.