Import and processing of alpha-amylase encoding maize 3272

Advisory reports | 05.09.2007 | 070905-01

The present application by Syngenta Seeds S.A.S. of file EFSA/GMO/UK/2006/34, ‘alpha-amylase encoding maize 3272’, concerns the import and processing for use in feed and food of a genetically modified maize line. Cultivation is not part of this application.
Maize line 3272 is genetically modified by insertion of the amy797E gene, which encodes a thermostable alpha-amylase. Alpha-amylase is used in the production of ethanol from maize. In addition, maize line 3272 contains the pmi gene, which enables the plant to use mannose as a sole carbon source and functions as a selection marker.
During the long domestication process, maize has lost its ability to survive in the wild. In the Netherlands, the appearance of maize volunteers is very rare and establishment of volunteers in the wild has never been reported. There are no reasons to assume that expression of the amy797E and pmi genes increases the potential of maize to establish feral populations. The introduced genes cannot spread to closely related species as wild relatives of maize are not present in Europe. Therefore, COGEM is of the opinion that incidental spillage of maize will probably not pose a risk to human health and the environment.
However, COGEM points out that the molecular analysis of maize line 3272 is incomplete. Therefore, it cannot be excluded that new open reading frames were created due to the insertion. If new open reading frames were created, these could theoretically give rise to potential toxic or allergenic products. In view of the deficiencies in the molecular analyses, COGEM cannot advice positively on the application for import and processing of 3272.

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