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Environmental Assessment

Non-Target and Ecosystem Impacts from Genetically Modified Crops Containing Plant Incorporated Protectants (PIPs)

Objective/Intended Use

The goal is to develop methodologies for measuring direct impacts and secondary trophic level effects on non-target organisms, and to characterize assessment endpoint(s) and the use of predictive strategies to evaluate potential ecosystem level effects that can be effectively used in a comparative risk assessment.

Technical Information Staff
  • by phone at:   703-347-8561
  • by fax at:   703-347-8691
  • by email at:  nceadc.comment@epa.gov

Project Abstact

The risk of unintended and unexpected adverse impacts on non-target organisms and ecosystems is a key issue in environmental risk assessment of PIP crop plants. While there has been considerable examination of the effects of insect resistant crops on certain non-target organisms, particularly using species-specific laboratory testing, more work is needed to examine impacts (or lack of impacts) at the field level. Field censuses documenting species diversity and abundance are important, but require appropriate baseline studies against which to compare results from agricultural and other ecosystems containing PIP crop plants. This research will be structured to answer the questions: 1) What are the potential ecological effects and other impacts from the use of biotechnology products on non-target species? and 2) What are the effective strategies for identifying the key risks of concern and effective risk management technologies to mitigate these key risks when the monitoring studies indicate unintended adverse consequences? NCEA will develop standardized and streamlined methodologies for conducting base-line assessments of agricultural and near-field ecosystems non-target species diversity and abundance. In addition to broad field censuses, particular plant and animal species may serve as indicators of environmental impacts. Bio-indicators may be efficient and sensitive tools for predicting adverse impacts during product evaluation as well as measuring long-term impacts of environmental releases. The baseline survey methodology and suite of bioindicators will provide a needed framework for ongoing research requirements to registrants and will be valuable in regulatory decision-making and long-term environmental monitoring. Expected Outputs: Meta data sets of published and gray literature relevant to eco impacts from PIP's Journal articles focusing on agroecosystem assessment where PIP crop plants have been adopted. EPA report on comparative risk assessment of environmental impacts from PIP's. Citations: Duan JJ, Marvier M, Huesing J, Dively G, Huang ZY (2008) A Meta-Analysis of Effects of Bt Crops on Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). PLoS ONE 3(1): e1415. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001415 L. LaReesa Wolfenbarger, Steven E. Naranjo, Jonathan G. Lundgren, Royce J. Bitzer, Lidia S. Watrud (2008) Bt Crop Effects on Functional Guilds of Non-Target Arthropods: A Meta-Analysis. Plos One (35): e2118. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002118 Rose, R.I., G. P. Dively, and J. S. Pettis. 2007. Effects of Bt Corn Pollen on Honey Bees with Emphasis on Protocol Development. Accepted in Apiosis. Marvier, M., C. McCreedy, J. Regetz and P. Kareiva. 2007. A Meta-Analysis of Effects of Bt Cotton and Maize on Nontarget Invertebrates. Science 316: 1475-1477. M.G. Cattaneo, C. Yafuso, C. Schmidt, C. Huang, M. Rahman, C. Olson, C Ellers-Kirk, B.J. Orr, S.E. Marsh, LAntilla, P. Dutilleul, and Y. Carriere. 2006. Farm-Scale Evaluation of the Impacts of Transgenic Cotton on Biodiversity, Pesticide Use and Yield. PNAS 103(20): 7571-7576. Lee, D. and E. Natesan. 2006. Evaluating genetic containment strategies for transgenic plants. Trends in Biotechnology. 34(3): 109-114. G. Diveley et al., 2004. Effects of Monarch Butterfly Larvae (Lepidoptera: Danaidae) After Continuous Exposure to Cry1Ab-Expressing Corn During Anthesis. Env. Entomology 33(4): 1116-1125. Federico, P., T.G. Hallam, G.F. McCracken, S. T. Purucker, W. E. Grant, A. N. Correa Sandoval, J.K. Westbrook, R. A. Medellin, C.J. Cleveland, C.G. Sansone, J. D. Lopez Jr., M. Betke, A. Moreno-Valdez, and T. H. Kunz. 2008. Brazilian Free-tailed Bats as Insect Pest Regulators in Transgenic and Conventional Cotton Crops. Ecological Applications 18(4);826-837.

Project Status

Begin this fiscal year (2003).

Related Links

Future Products

  • Several Journal Manuscripts

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