Containment measures for activities involving the use of GM arthropods under conditions of ‘contained use’

Advisory reports | 18.04.2013 | CGM/130416-01

In the Netherlands research using genetically modified (GM) arthropods takes place in laboratories, breeding units or greenhouses. Because arthropods have a wide variety of properties and greatly differ from one another in their behaviour, COGEM is of the opinion that for activities involving the use of GM arthropods it is not possible to specify standard safety levels with associated containment measures in the Genetically Modified Organisms Regulation (Regeling GGO), such as those which have been set in the Netherlands for activities involving the use of GM micro-organisms, etc. It will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis what containment measures should be taken to prevent escape.
In this advisory report COGEM offers guidelines for containment measures for GM arthropods. The report provides a basic set of procedures and design guidelines based on the present containment measures for activities involving GM Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly) which may serve as a starting point in preventing the escape of GM arthropods. COGEM has further included a list of considerations based on the characteristics and behaviour of groups of arthropods which can be used to determine whether the basic set of containment measures should be extended (and if so, with what measures), or whether they can be relaxed. With this advisory report COGEM has attempted to provide guidance on suitable measures to ensure the proper containment of GM arthropods when carrying out activities under ‘contained use’ conditions.

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