Import and processing of maize MIR604xGA21

Advisory reports | 21.05.2008 | 080521-02

The present application by Syngenta Seeds S.A.S. (file EFSA/GMO/UK/2007/48) concerns import and processing for use in feed and food of the genetically modified maize line MIR604xGA21. Cultivation is not part of this application.
Maize line MIR604xGA21 was obtained by conventional cross-breeding of the two parental lines. Previously, COGEM issued positive advices on import and processing of maize line MIR604. COGEM also advised on import and processing of maize line GA21. COGEM considered the ecological risks associated with the import and processing of maize line GA21 negligible.

The hybrid maize line MIR604xGA21 contains the mcry3A gene conferring resistance to certain coleopteran insects. In addition, this maize line contains the pmi gene which acts as a selectable marker enabling transformed plant cells to utilize mannose as a primary carbon source. Finally, MIR604xGA21 contains a mepsps gene, resulting in tolerance to glyphosate containing herbicides.
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 MIR604xGA21 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 MIR604xGA21 poses negligible risks to the environment. Therefore, COGEM considers the risks associated with import and processing of maize line MIR604xGA21 negligible. Additionally, COGEM questions some aspects of the provided general surveillance plan and gives some comments on the revised information regarding the molecular characterization.

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