Import of insect resistant and herbicide tolerant GHB119 cotton

Advisory reports | 24.01.2012 | CGM/120123-01

The present application by Bayer CropScience (file EFSA/GMO/NL/2011/96) concerns the import and processing for use in feed and food of cotton GHB119. Cultivation is not part of this application.
Cotton line GHB119 was produced by Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation of conventional cotton. GHB119 expresses the cry2Ae gene and bar gene. As a result, GHB119 cotton is resistant to certain lepidopteran pests and tolerant to glufosinate ammonium based herbicides. GHB119 has not been previously assessed by COGEM.
In North West Europe, no wild relatives of cotton are present. Modern cotton cultivars do not possess any of the attributes commonly associated with problematic weeds. COGEM does not know of reasons to assume that the introduced traits will increase the potential of cotton to establish feral populations. Moreover, cotton cannot survive the climatologic conditions in North West Europe. Therefore, COGEM is of the opinion that incidental spillage of GHB119 seeds will not pose a risk to the environment in North West Europe.
The applicant showed by Southern blot analyses that one copy of the insert with the bar and cry2Ae gene is integrated at a single locus. The applicant further showed that the backbone of the plasmid used for transformation is absent in GHB119. Bioinformatic analysis of the junctions of the insert and the cotton genomic DNA identified a total of eleven open reading frames. These sequences were analyzed for similarity to known toxins or allergens. No similarities were found. The molecular characterisation and provided General Surveillance plan meet the criteria of COGEM.

In view of the above, COGEM is of the opinion that the risks for humans and the environment associated with import and processing of cotton line GHB119 are negligible. 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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