Import and processing of maize Bt11xMIR604xGA21

Advisory reports | 17.10.2008 | 081017-03

The present application by Syngenta Seeds S.A.S. (file EFSA/GMO/UK/2008/56) concerns import and processing for use in feed and food of the genetically modified maize line Bt11xMIR604xGA21. Cultivation is not part of this application.
Maize line Bt11xMIR604xGA21 was obtained by conventional cross-breeding of the genetically modified maize lines Bt11, MIR604 and GA21. Previously, COGEM issued positive advices on applications for import and processing of all three parental maize lines, and on cultivation of maize line Bt11. In addition, COGEM advised positively on import and processing of hybrid maize lines Bt11xGA21, Bt11xMIR604 and MIR604xGA21.

Maize line Bt11xMIR604xGA21 contains the cry1Ab and mcry3A genes conferring resistance to certain lepidopteran and coleopteran insects. In addition, this maize line contains the genes pat and mepsps, resulting in tolerance to glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium containing herbicides. Finally, this maize line contains the pmi gene which acts as a selectable marker enabling transformed plant cells to utilize mannose as a carbon source.

During its long domestication process, maize has lost its ability to survive in the wild. In the Netherlands, the appearance of maize volunteers is rare and establishment of volunteers in the wild has never been reported. There are no reasons to assume that the introduced traits will increase the potential of maize to establish feral populations. The genes introduced in Bt11xMIR604xGA21 cannot spread to closely related species since wild relatives of maize are not present in Europe.
In view of the above, COGEM is of the opinion that incidental spillage of Bt11xMIR604xGA21 poses negligible risks to the environment. Therefore, COGEM considers the risks associated with import and processing of maize line Bt11xMIR604xGA21 negligible.

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