Cultivation of genetically modified maize line MON88017

Advisory reports | 12.11.2008 | 081112-02

This notification concerns the cultivation of genetically modified maize line MON88017. The maize line harbors the genes cp4epsps and cry3Bb1. Cp4epsps confers tolerance to herbicides containing the active ingredient glyphosate. The cry3Bb1 gene is responsible for resistance to certain coleopteran insects such as the corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera).  Previously, COGEM advised positively on the import of maize line MON88017.
In the Netherlands, no wild relatives of maize are present and establishment of maize plants in the wild has never been observed. There are no reasons to assume that the inserted traits will increase the potential of the maize line to establish feral populations. In addition, the appearance of volunteers is very rare under Dutch conditions.

COGEM is of the opinion that the molecular characterization of MON88017 is adequate and complete. The applicant conducted several laboratory experiments to assess the effect of cry3Bb1 proteins expressed by maize MON88017 on non-target organisms. However, only one of these tests is conducted with the exact protein expressed in MON88017. COGEM is of the opinion that this is insufficient to conclude there are no adverse effects to be expected on NTOs with the cultivation of MON88017.
Furthermore, COGEM is of the opinion that the general surveillance plan supplied for cultivation of maize MON88017 is at some points too informal and gives no guarantees that sufficient data are collected. The applicant should describe in more detail how the general surveillance plan will be organized and which organizations are involved.

Based on the considerations put forward in this advice, COGEM cannot advise positively on the cultivation of maize line MON88017. COGEM is of the opinion that additional data from laboratory experiments and field studies have to be provided conducted with maize line MON88017 and with a Cry3bb1 variant as expressed in this maize line.

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