Import and processing of GM oilseed rape NS-B50027-4 with an altered fatty acid profile

Advisory reports | 18.07.2022 | CGM/220718-06
  • The present application (EFSA/GMO/NL/2019/160) concerns the authorisation for import of genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape NS-B50027-4;
  • Oilseed rape NS-B50027-4 was produced by Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation. It expresses the pat gen, conferring tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium containing herbicides. Additionally, NS-B50027-4 expresses seven transgenes which play a role in the synthesis of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA);
  • Feral oilseed rape populations occur across the Netherlands, with a small number of plants (25 or less) per location, along distribution routes and handling areas as a result of spillage of oilseed rape seeds during transport and transhipment;
  • Oilseed rape can hybridise with Brassica rapa which is a common plant along Dutch roadsides. To a lesser extent it can also hybridise with Brassica juncea and Brassica oleracea;
  • Stable incorporation (introgression) of genes from napus into wild populations of B. rapa and B. napus may be possible;
  • The molecular characterisation of NS-B50027-4 meets the criteria of COGEM;
  • The phenotypic and agronomic characteristics of NS-B50027-4 are comparable to conventional oilseed rape, with the exception of a few characteristics, which differed from the conventional counterpart and fell outside the ranges of non-GM reference varieties;
  • The higher early plant vigour of NS-B50027-4 might provide an advantage under certain conditions, COGEM is therefore of the opinion that accidental spillage of NS-B50027-4 and potential effects thereof, should be closely monitored;
  • Based on the phenotypic and agronomic characterisation of NS-B50027-4 no indications for potential environmental risks were identified;
  • Accidental spillage of GM oilseed rape seeds may lead to the establishment of feral GM napus, which could lead to plants with stacked events, or feral GM B. rapa harbouring GM traits like herbicide tolerance;
  • COGEM is of the opinion that the monitoring plan for import and processing of GM oilseed rape events should include monitoring along transport routes (including roadsides and railway beddings) and transhipment areas. This is not included in the current monitoring plan of NS-B50027-4;
  • COGEM can only advise positively on the application for import and processing for use in food and feed of NS-B50027-4 oilseed rape, if the monitoring plan is elaborated.
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