Import of genetically modified soybean MON87708 with a new herbicide tolerance trait

Advisory reports | 01.08.2011 | CGM/110801-02

The present application of Monsanto Europe S.A. (EFSA/GMO/NL/2011/93) concerns the import and processing for use in feed and food of the genetically modified soybean line MON87708. Cultivation is not part of this application.
Soybean line MON87708 was obtained by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of conventional soybean. The line expresses the dmo gene from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, conferring tolerance to dicamba containing herbicides.
In Europe, closely related species of soybean are not present and therefore, hybridization with other species is not possible. Soybean does not possess any of the attributes commonly associated with problematic weeds and establishment of feral soybean populations has never been observed in Europe. Due to the climatic and geographical conditions, survival of soybean is not possible in the Netherlands. There is no reason to assume that the introduced trait would introduce the potential for soybean to establish feral populations. COGEM is of the opinion that the risk of spread of soybean MON87708 within the Netherlands due to incidental spillage of this soybean is negligible.
In the opinion of COGEM, the molecular analysis of soybean line MON87708 is sufficient. Besides the normal DMO protein expressed in MON87708, an alternatively processed longer version of the protein containing the N-terminal sequence of the pea Rubisco small subunit protein is present in MON87708. There is no indication that the longer DMO protein or the normal DMO protein will pose a risk to the environment.
Although the general surveillance (GS) plan could be improved by a guarantee that operators will monitor for unanticipated effects, COGEM considers the current GS plan sufficient for import and processing of soybean line MON87708.
In conclusion, COGEM is of the opinion that import and processing of soybean line MON87708 poses a negligible risk to the environment. COGEM points out that a food/feed safety assessment is carried out by other organisations. Therefore, COGEM abstains from advice on the potential risks of incidental consumption.

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