GenØk Biosafety Report: Environmental risks of fungus resistant GM oilseed rape



Photo: istockphoto_000025540072/republica

This biosafety report, commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency, examines environmental risks of fungus resistant GM oilseed rape (OSR; Brassica napus and Brassica raps) in Norway. In Norway, OSR is mainly used in feed (animals and fish) and there is also interest in its use as “local biomass” for the production of biofuels.

In a Norwegian context, the cultivation of oilseed rape is limited and challenged by geography, climate, insects and fungus-related pathogens. Quantitatively, the cultivation of OSR in Norway is rather small when compared to the yearly production and cultivation in Europe. The production in Norway is, however, too small to satisfy domestic demand, thus, much of the OSR used today is imported. Future potential growth of genetically modified (GM) OSR in Norway would have to meet some, if not all, of the demands/needs and challenges to cultivation. One option may be to introduce fungus resistant OSR. Today, most GM OSR crops on the market are herbicide-resistant. This report aims to examine the knowledge gaps and research needs in this area, with a focus on environmental issues related to the potential use and introduction of fungus resistant GM OSR in Norway. We intend to map these knowledge gaps, as well as reveal potential new knowledge gaps related to cultivation of OSR in Norway in general and GM OSR in particular.

The objectives of this report are to:

  • Map and document knowledge gaps and research needs related to the potential introduction of fungus resistant GM OSR, in particular environmental risks and biodiversity impacts by using scientific literature and reports;
  • Evaluate different future development scenarios of the introduction and use of GM OSR in Norway;
  • Present findings from a workshop with invited experts from academia and key persons from the authorities that aimed to map knowledge gaps with emphasis on a Norwegian context; and
  • Synthesize the results of a questionnaire survey carried out among Norwegian farmers to obtain their views, needs and knowledge on GM OSR.

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The report is written by Idun Merete Grønsberg (project manager), Frøydis Gillund, Lise Nordgård, Marianne IversenJan Husby, Angelika Hilbeck and Anne I. Myhr