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Inventory on the potential import of non-authorized genetically modified ornamentals in the Netherlands

Authors:
  • Inspection for the Living Environment and Transport (ILT)
National Institute for Public Health
and the Environment
P.O. Box 1 | 3720 BA Bilthoven
www.rivm.com
Inventory on the potential import of
non-authorized genetically modied
ornamentals in the Netherlands
RIVM Letter Report 300003004/2014
J.W.A. Scheepmaker
Inventory on the potential import of
non-authorized genetically modified
ornamentals in the Netherlands
RIVM Letter report 300003004/2014
J.W.A. Scheepmaker
RIVM Letter report 300003004
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Colophon
© RIVM 2014
Parts of this publication may be reproduced, provided acknowledgement is given
to: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, along with the title
and year of publication.
J.W.A. Scheepmaker, RIVM
Contact:
Jacqueline W. A. Scheepmaker
Department for Gene Technology and Biological Safety
Jacqueline.Scheepmaker@RIVM.nl
This investigation has been performed by order and for the account of ILT,
within the framework of M/300003/01/RA, Ketens and analyse
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Rapport in het kort
Inventarisatie van mogelijke import niet-toegelaten genetisch
gemodificeerde sierplanten in Nederland
Internationaal zijn veel ontwikkelingen gaande om sierplanten genetisch te
modificeren. Op die manier is het bijvoorbeeld mogelijk om bloemen een kleur
te geven die van nature niet voorkomt (zoals een blauwe roos), of zijn ze beter
bestand tegen droogte, ziekten of het gebruik van gewasbeschermingsmiddelen.
Voordat genetisch gemodificeerde planten op de markt mogen worden
toegelaten, moet eerst worden beoordeeld of ze een risico vormen voor mens of
milieu. Uit verkennend onderzoek van het RIVM blijkt dat er in Nederland
waarschijnlijk geen genetisch gemodificeerde siergewassen verkrijgbaar zijn die
niet officieel zijn toegelaten. Het onderzoek is een opdracht van de Inspectie
Leefomgeving en Transport (ILT). De ILT is verantwoordelijk voor het toezicht
op en de handhaving van de regelgeving voor genetisch gemodificeerde
organismen (GMO-regelgeving), inclusief de monitoring van niet-toegelaten
genetisch gemodificeerde (GM) siergewassen.
Het onderzoek geeft een overzicht van siergewassen waarvoor wereldwijd
succesvolle genetische modificaties in het laboratorium zijn uitgevoerd.
Vervolgens is weergegeven welke experimenten sinds 2000 binnen en buiten de
EU zijn uitgevoerd om te testen of de nieuwe eigenschappen ook in de kas of het
veld zichtbaar zijn. Daarna is beschreven welke GM-siergewassen binnen en
buiten de EU zijn toegelaten, zoals in Australië, Nieuw Zeeland, USA, Canada,
Japan. Hieruit zijn GM-sierplanten geselecteerd die mogelijk geïmporteerd
kunnen worden in Nederland, nu of in de nabije toekomst. Voor deze
‘kandidaten’ (anjers, rozen, Petunia, het graszaad Agrostis stolonifera (creeping
bentgrass), en Pelargonium (in de volksmond geranium)) zijn vier factoren
gewogen, op basis waarvan de ILT kan aangeven welke GM sierplanten ze
voorrang willen geven bij toezicht en handhaving. De belangrijkste factor is het
(eventuele) risico voor mens en milieu, en dat bleek in de meeste gevallen laag.
Alleen het GM-gras A. stolonifera, dat resistent is tegen het
onkruidbestrijdingsmiddel glyfosaat, kan een potentieel risico vormen voor het
milieu. Bij toepassing van glyfosaat heeft dit gras namelijk een reproductief
voordeel en kan gaan woekeren. Het is echter nog niet als commercieel product
op de markt gebracht.
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Abstract
Inventory of presence of unauthorized genetically modified ornamentals
on the Dutch market
Genetic modification of ornamentals is on the rise worldwide. Using this
technique it is, for instance, possible to modify the colour of cut flowers (e.g. a
blue rose) and to make ornamentals more resistant against drought, diseases or
the use of herbicides. Before their admittance to the market, genetically
modified plants have to be assessed for potential risks to human health and the
environment. An inventory performed by the Dutch National Institute for Public
Health and the Environment (RIVM) shows that genetically modified ornamentals
without an official permit do not seem to be present on the Dutch market. The
inventory was commissioned by the Netherlands Human Environment and
Transport Inspectorate (ILT), which is responsible for supervising and enforcing
government regulations on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), including the
monitoring of unauthorized genetically modified ornamentals.
The inventory provides a list of ornamentals for which genetic modifications
have been achieved successfully in the laboratory. The report also lists
experiments which have been performed since 2000, both within and outside the
EU, to test whether new traits are visible in greenhouses or in the field. In
addition, the report includes a list of genetically modified ornamentals which are
currently authorized in the EU and outside the EU, including in Australia, New
Zealand, the United States, Canada and Japan. From these lists, genetically
modified ornamentals were selected that could be imported into
the Netherlands, either now or in the near future. These ‘candidates’ are
carnations, roses, Petunia, the grass seed Agrostis stolonifera (creeping
bentgrass) and Pelargonium (popularly known as geranium). Four factors were
assessed to enable ILT to prioritize genetically modified ornamentals for
monitoring purposes and enforcement of regulations. The most important factor
was the potential risk for human health and the environment. This risk turned
out to be low. Only the GM grass A. stolonifera that is resistant against the
weedkiller glyphosate may present a risk to the environment as it may become
invasive following application of glyphosate. However, glyphosate-resistant A.
stolonifera has not yet been commercialized.
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Inhoud
Rapport in het kort—3
Abstract—4
1Introduction—6
1.1Objectives and demarcation—6
1.2GMO regulations—7
1.2.1Regulatory framework and competent authorities within the European Union—7
1.2.2Regulations outside the EU—7
1.3Definition of a GMO and ornamentals for this report—8
2Material and Methods—9
2.1General information sources on the status of GM ornamentals in the EU—9
2.2General information sources on the status of GM ornamentals worldwide—9
2.3Other searched databases/sites—10
2.4Statistical data on import into the Netherlands—11
3Results—11
3.1Published articles on GM ornamentals—11
3.2Field trials with genetically modified ornamental plants/cut flowers—14
3.3Approvals in EU—20
3.4Approvals outside EU—20
3.5Notifications pending in and outside the EU—22
3.6GM ornamentals de-regulated or non-regulated in the USA—23
3.6.1De-regulated GM ornamentals—23
3.6.2Non-regulated GM ornamentals—23
3.7Import into the Netherlands—24
4Discussion—26
4.1Candidates for illegal import into the Netherlands—26
4.2Prioritising the candidates for potential introduction—27
4.2.1Carnation—28
4.2.2Rosa x hybrida—30
4.2.3Creeping bentgrass—32
4.2.4Petunia—34
4.2.5Pelargonium—36
4.3Prioritisation—37
Appendix 1, Countries exporting to the Netherlands—40
Appendix 2, Trade of ornamentals—43
Appendix 3, Grass seed germination rates—49
Appendix 4, Blue roses obtained through traditional breeding—50
References—51
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1 Introduction
Worldwide, a steady increase of genetically modified products is observed, both
in numbers and in diversity. Products in the agro sector are most prominent.
Ornamentals such as cut flowers and annuals are ideal candidates for genetic
modification as there is a large consumer demand for new products. There has
been extensive research on the genetic modification of different flowering plant
species, and many ornamental species have now been successfully modified,
including those which are most important commercially. Deroles (2002) listed
more than 30 ornamental species that have been transformed, including
Anthurium, begonia, carnation, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, Datura, daylily,
gentian, gerbera, gladiolus, hyacinth, iris, lily, lisianthus, orchid, Pelargonium,
Petunia, poinsettia, rose, snapdragon and Torenia.
The Human Environment and Transports Inspectorate (ILT) of the Netherlands is
responsible for supervising and enforcing GMO regulations, including the
monitoring of unapproved GMOs. However, it is unknown to what extent
unapproved GM ornamentals are being imported into the Netherlands. Upon
request of the ILT, the RIVM has investigated the possible import of unapproved
genetically modified ornamentals.
Two inventories preceding this work have been published in 2009 en 2012, also
upon request of the ILT. In 2009, a report on the potential introduction of
unapproved GM crops in the Netherlands was generated, comprising a shortlist
of species that (may) require specific attention with regard to (potential)
environmental dispersal. Taking into account actual trade and import data, the
shortlist was subsequently translated into a priority list for monitoring of
unapproved GMOs (Prins et al., 2009). In 2012 RIVM has published a report on
the potential introduction of unapproved GM animals and GM products in the
Netherlands, now or in the near future (Van den Akker and Wassenaar, 2012).
In this report bacteria (for use in pesticides), viruses, insects, fish, domestic
animals, cattle, veterinary vaccines and gene therapies/vaccines for human use
were included. Ornamentals were not part of these two above mentioned
reports. This current report can therefore be considered as a follow-up to these
two reports.
This report aims to identify whether there are any unapproved GM ornamentals
on the Dutch market or if any unapproved introductions with these GM
ornamentals may occur in the Netherlands in the near future.
1.1 Objectives and demarcation
This inventory is aimed at including the following information concerning the
most relevant GM ornamentals:
1. An exact description of GM ornamentals on or about to come onto the
market, including name and nature of the product, the genetic modification
and the technique applied for modification. Also ornamentals that are
suspected of being GMOs, but not regarded as such under European
legislation will be described.
2. The extent of the import and potential import of GM ornamentals and of the
availability of these products for the Dutch consumer market.
3. From which countries, by whom and by which routes introduction could take
place.
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4. An indication of the potential hazards/risks associated with the GM
ornamental; inclusion of an existing environmental risk assessment (if
available).
5. Exploration of possibilities for the detection and control of these products.
In first instance, a limited search was performed of the open literature for
studies performed with varieties of GM ornamentals. This initial search gave an
impression of the range of possible modifications and the type of ornamentals
modified. To generate the main part of the inventory, information on relevant
GM ornamentals was gathered from the internet, especially focusing on
databases and sources that supply information on the marketing status or
licensing of GM ornamentals.
Searches were made to find:
1. Studies on successful modifications of ornamentals (limited search),
2. Approved field experiments with ornamentals in the EU, Australia, New
Zealand, USA and Canada,
3. GM ornamentals with approvals in the EU,
4. GM ornamentals with approvals outside the EU,
5. GM ornamentals with approvals pending in and outside the EU,
6. GM ornamentals not regulated or de-regulated in the USA,
7. Listed patents of GM modifications in ornamentals.
1.2 GMO regulations
1.2.1 Regulatory framework and competent authorities within the European Union
In the European Union, the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms
into the environment is regulated by the EU Directive 2001/18/EC. Directive
2001/18/EC is applicable for import or cultivation of GM ornamentals. This
Directive concerns both the placing on the market of GMOs and deliberate
release of GMOs into the environment for non-commercial purposes (e.g. field
trials) (Directive-2001/18/EC). The Directive obliges member states to ensure
that all appropriate measures are taken to avoid adverse effects on human
health and the environment which might arise from the deliberate release or the
placing on the market of GMOs.
Annex II of the Directive 2001/18/EC describes in general terms the objectives
to be achieved, the elements to be considered, and the general principles and
methodology to be followed to perform an environmental risk assessment
involving the deliberate release of GMOs. Only products that have been risk
assessed and granted a marketing authorization by the Community and the
Member State involved, can be placed on the market.
1.2.2 Regulations outside the EU
In most countries outside the EU, GM regulations are in place. This means that
like in the EU, plants obtained by means of genetic modification techniques are
generally considered to be a GM product. The exceptions are the USA and
Canada, where the regulation of a GM product is not based on the technique
that has been used, but on the new characteristics of the product (product-
based regulation). This means that there may be some products on the USA and
Canadian market that would be considered a GMO in the EU, but are not
considered as such in the USA and Canada.
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1.3 Definition of a GMO and ornamentals for this report
The definition of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) as used in this report is
the definition as is laid down in the EU Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate
release into the environment of genetically modified organisms. A GMO is
defined as organism, with the exception of human beings, in which the genetic
material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating
and/or natural recombination (Directive-2001/18/EC).
This report will focus on GM ornamentals. Ornamental plants can be divided
into eight major categories (Dobres, 2008). These are the annuals, perennials,
potted flowering, potted foliage, trees and shrubs, cut flowers and vines,
ornamental grasses and palms.
In the report of Prins et al. (2009) grasses were already included in the priority
list for the Netherlands as they have a high likelihood of dispersal. As the actual
GM varieties were not listed in the report, ornamental grasses were also
included in this report.
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2 Material and Methods
To generate the inventory, information on relevant GM ornamentals was mainly
gathered from the internet, especially focusing on databases and sources that
supply information on the marketing status or licensing of GM ornamentals.
The open literature was also searched for studies performed with varieties of GM
ornamentals. If these ornamentals were successfully modified, this was
considered to give an indication of their marketing potential.
2.1 General information sources on the status of GM ornamentals in the EU
GMO compass (GMO-Compass)
This service provides a GMO database on all GM crops that are registered in the
EU.
Joint Research Centre (JRC), Deliberate Release and Placing on the EU markt of
GMOs – GMO register)
The purpose of this web site, managed by the Joint Research Centre of the
European Commission on behalf of the Directorate General for Health and
Consumers is to publish information and to receive comments from the public
regarding notifications on GMO’s about deliberate field trials and placing on the
market of genetically modified organisms, as defined in Directive 2001/18/EC.
2.2 General information sources on the status of GM ornamentals worldwide
The Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH)
BCH is a site set up by the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to facilitate the
exchange of information on Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) and assist the
Parties to better comply with their obligations under the Protocol. Global access
to a variety of scientific, technical, environmental, legal and capacity building
information is provided in the six official languages of the UN.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada work together to
assess the safety of plants with novel traits, some of which are also known as
genetically modified plants.
CERA’s GM Crop Database (CERA)
This database is hosted by the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment.
CERA's database of safety information (formerly hosted by AGBIOS) includes not
only plants produced using recombinant DNA technologies (e.g., genetically
engineered or transgenic plants), but also plants with novel traits that may have
been produced using more traditional methods, such as accelerated mutagenesis
or plant breeding. In this database only information on carnation is available,
not on other ornamentals. Not all countries are included in this database, for
instance New Zealand is not included.
Environmental protection Authority (EPA)
The EPA of New Zealand provides a list of Approvals of field tests of ornamental
plants since 1988.
The International service for the acquisition of agri-biotech applications (ISAAA)
This service provides a database with registered GM crop events in all countries
of the world.
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Information systems for biotechnology, A National Resource in Agbiotech
Information (ISB)
ISB provides information resources to support the environmentally responsible
use of agricultural biotechnology products. Here documents can be found and
searchable databases pertaining to the development, testing and regulatory
review of genetically engineered (GE) plants, animals and microorganisms within
the United States and Hawaii.
OECD BioTrack Product Database (OECD)
Database provided by the OECD. The objective of this database is to allow
regulatory officials in the OECD member countries to easily share basic
information on products derived from the use of modern biotechnology, as well
as some products with novel traits (GM or not) acquired by the use of
conventional breeding or mutagenesis, that have been approved for commercial
application in terms of food, feed or environmental safety.
Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR)
The OGTR provides a list of applications and licenses for Dealings involving
Intentional Release of GMOs into the environment in Australia. The OGTR has
been established within the Australian Government Department of Health and
Ageing to provide administrative support to the Gene Technology Regulator in
the performance of his functions under the Gene Technology Act 2000. This
office provides GMO records on all approved GMOs and GM products in Australia.
United Stated Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (USDA-APHIS)
APHIS' Biotechnology Regulatory Services regulates the introduction
(importation, interstate movement, and release into the environment) of
genetically engineered organisms. APHIS provides a database to check the
status of a permit, notification or petition.
2.3 Other searched databases/sites
International Trade Centre, Market Analysis and Research (ITC)
Trade Map provides - in the form of tables, graphs and maps - indicators on
export performance, international demand, alternative markets and competitive
markets, as well as a directory of importing and exporting companies. Trade
Map covers 220 countries and territories and 5,300 products.
Patent Lens (Patent-Lens)
A free public resource for patent system navigation worldwide. No information in
addition to other databases was gained from this resource and results are not
further mentioned in this report.
www.alibaba.com
This internet site offers the opportunity of trading all sorts of commodities,
including fresh cut flowers.
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2.4 Statistical data on import into the Netherlands
The import into the Netherlands was analysed using Trade Map supplied by the
International Trade Centre (ITC), EuroStat (EuroStat, 2008) and the Dutch
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS StatLine, 2008).
3 Results
3.1 Published articles on GM ornamentals
Many successful modifications have been accomplished at laboratory scale.
Shibata (Shibata, 2008) listed forty eight ornamental plants (Table 1). More
references can be found in Teixeira da Silva (2006) and Chandler and Sanchez
(Chandler and Sanchez, 2012). They also give broad overviews on aspects of
genetic engineering in ornamental plants.
Table 1. List of ornamental species for which transgenic plants have been generated (after
Shibata (2008)).
Within the scope of this report, in depth investigations to generate an
exhaustive overview of GM modifications performed at laboratory scale is not
feasible. Instead, Table 2 lists the most important modifications with a few
relevant and recent references.
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Table 2. Some recent reports on successful transformations.
Species New
characteristic
Company/Research
institute
Source
Colour modification
Torenia A diversity of flower
colors, including
white,
yellow, pink and
red instead of the
original violet or
blue
Tokyo University of Science
(Nagira et al.,
2006)
(Nishihara et al.,
2013)
Chrysanthemum Bluer-coloured
chrysanthemums
National Agriculture and Food
Research Organization
(NARO), Japan
(Naonobu et al.,
2013)
Gerbera,
Rose,
Carnation,
Eustoma grandiflorum
(Lisianthus),
Blue gentia,
Cyclamen,
Impatiens,
Viola tricolour,
Forsythia x intermedia,
Petunia
From purple to
white or red
From red to orange
Blue
Institute for Advanced
Research,
Suntory,
Kobe University,
Florigene Ltd.,
Suntory flowers Ltd.,
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
(Dobres, 2008)
(Teixeira da Silva,
2006)
(Deroles et al.,
2002)
(Rosati et al., 2003)
(Tsuda et al.)
(Tornielli et al.,
2009)
Increased disease resistance
Anthurium Resistance against
Anthurium blight
University of Hawaii (Kuehnle et al.,
2004)
Petunia Tolerance to
Botrytis cinerea
Nanjing Agricultural
University, China
(Wang, 2013)
Torenia Resistance against
Botrtyis cinerea
Florigene/Suntory (Muroi et al., 2012)
Agrostis stolonifera
(Bentgrass) and
Zoysia japonica
(Zoysiagrass)1
Fungal resistance Japan Turfgrass (Yalcin-Mendi et al.,
2006)
Petunia and
Chrysanthemum
Virus and viroid
resistance
Suntory Ltd and Kirin of
Japan
(Yalcin-Mendi et al.,
2006)
Modified appaerance
Kalanchoe Growth retardation Plant and Soil Sciences
Laboratory, Copenhagen,
Denmark
Institute for Ornamental and
Woody Plant Science,
Hannover, Germany, and two
other institutes
(Lütken et al.,
2010)
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Species New
characteristic
Company/Research
institute
Source
Impatiens,
Viola tricolour (Pansies)
Reduced leaf and
flower size, petal
form and number
(Dobres, 2008)
Garden roses,
Hydrangea,
Rhodondendron,
Azalea
Flower and foliage
colour, petal
number,
habit
(Dobres, 2008)
(GMO-Compass)
Pelargonium zonale Highly branched
stems, compact
habit
Instituto de Biología Molecular
y Celular de Plantas (CSIC-
UPV
(García-Sogo et al.,
2012)
Increased stress tolerance
Petunia Drought tolerance Ornamental Bioscience
GmbH, Germany
(Boehm, 2009)1
(Green-biotech.eu)
Euphorbia pulcherrima
(Poinsettia)
Drought and frost
tolerance
Ornamental Bioscience
GmbH, Germany
(Bio-Pro)
Tolerance to herbicides
Zoysia japonica (Zoysia
grass)
Glufosinate
resistant
Faculty of Biotechnology,
Cheju National University,
Jeju, Korea
(Bae et al., 2008)
Poa pratensis
(Kentucky blue grass)
Chlorsulfuron
resistant
Scotts Company, USA (Zhang et al., 2010)
Agrostis spp. Glufosinate
resistant
University of Rhode Island,
Kingston, USA
(Wang et al., 2003)
Increase of phytoremediation capacity
Torenia,
Petunia,
Verbena
hyperaccumulation
of inorganic
phosphate
Suntory Flowers Ltd. (Matsui et al.,
2013)
Prolonged shelf-life
Campanula persicifolio
(Canterbury bluebells)
Kalanchoe
(Flaming Katies)
University of Hannover,
Germany
(GMO-Compass)
Modification of floral scent
Pelargonium Expression of a
scent biosynthetic
gene
Lucknow University, India (Saxena et al.,
2007)
Rosa hybrida Production of
anthocyanin
pigment1
transcription factor
University of Florida;
Institute of Plant Sciences
and Genetics in Agriculture,
Israel
(GMO-Compass)
(Zvi et al., 2012)
Male sterility
Cyclamen persicum Suppression of
floral-organ identity
genes
National Institute of
Floricultural Science (NIFS),
National Agriculture and Food
Research Organization
(NARO)
(Ohtsubo, 2011)
(Tanaka et al.,
2013)
Pelargonium zonale male sterile
PsEND1::barnase
transgenic plants
Instituto de Biología Molecular
y Celular de Plantas (CSIC-
UPV
(García-Sogo et al.,
2012)
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Species New
characteristic
Company/Research
institute
Source
Petunia Genetic information
is inserted in the
plastids and is not
transferred by
pollen
University of Rostock (Science-live, 2010)
1: This project will probably be ceased by the company Ornamental Biosciences in Stuttgart as the
introduced genetic material did not perform well. The cultivars produced sofar were not worth
marketing (personal communication R. Boehm). The company has the intention to transfer the same
protocol to impatiens, geraniums and poinsettias (Potera, 2007).
3.2 Field trials with genetically modified ornamental plants/cut flowers
Field trials are a necessary next step following the research on the GM
ornamental in the greenhouse. The new GM ornamental needs to be tested on
several characteristics, among others the stability of the new trait, agronomic
and product quality before it can be commercialized. The estimated time for a
product to come to the market from modification is 8 to 12 years (Arundel and
Sawaya, 2009). According to Chandler and Sanchez this period is 3-5 years
(Chandler and Sanchez, 2012).
Table 3 shows field trials performed inside the EU and Table 4 shows field trials
performed outside the EU from 2000 to 2013. This period has been chosen
taking into consideration the longest period of 12 years for a product to come
onto the market (see above). It can be assumed that field trials before 2000
resulted in a selection of GM ornamentals with marketing potential. Any
successful GM ornamentals that were tested in a field trial before 2000 are
expected to be present in databases of the JRC, OGTR, EPA and ISB in 2013, by
the time this report was written. It should be stressed that not all species listed
may make their way to the market, but at least the list gives an indication of
future marketing possibilities of the listed species.
For many species, a long list of permits was available within the observed
period. In the USA, for instance, Dobres (2011) counted more than 91
movement permits and 73 field trials have been issued for more than 10 genera
of bedding plants, foliage plants and shrubs. In Tables 3 and 4 permits of field
tests were limited to the latest permit of each variety. In case of field tests with
two different modifications in the same variety, both permits were listed.
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Table 3. List of field trials since 2000 with GM ornamentals in the EU.
Species New characteristic Company/Research
institute
Notificatio
n number
site
Dimorphotheca
hybrids (Cape
marigold, African
daisy, Star-of-the-
veldt)
virus resistance
(potato leaf roll
virus)
Instituto Sperimentale
per la Floricoltura
B/IT/00/05 (JRC)
Dimorphotheca
hybrids (Cape
marigold, African
daisy, Star-of-the-
veldt
virus resistance
(tomato spotted wilt
virus)
Instituto Sperimentale
per la Floricoltura
B/IT/00/06 (JRC)
Lilium longiflorum
(lily)
virus resistance (lily
symptomless virus)
Applied Plant Research
Section Flower bulbs
B/BE/01/V1 (JRC)
Limonium otolepsis
(limonium)
synthesis of rol gene
product(s)
Istituto Sperimentale
per la Floricoltura
B/IT/00/02
B/IT/00/03
B/IT/00/04
(JRC)
Petunia x hybrida gene transfer of
plastid DNA via
pollen, male sterility,
resistance towards
streptomycine and
spectinomycine
University of Rostock B/DE/08/20
3
(JRC)
(EPA)
(Science
-live,
2010)
Strawberry (adj.
ananassa)
induction of
parthenocarpic fruit
Universita’ Ancona -
Facoltà di agraria -
Dipartimento di
biotecnologie agrarie e
ambientali
B/IT/02/11 (JRC)
The table below presents the field trials that were performed outside the EU
since 2000. Databases mentioned in chapter 2 revealed field experiments that
were performed in the USA, Japan, Australia en New Zealand. No field
experiments were found in the database of Canada. Field experiments from
other countries such as China, Korea, all countries in Africa, were not mentioned
in the databases. This does not necessarily mean that field experiments were
never performed. The explanation might well be that not all countries deliver
this information for inclusion in the databases.
RIVM Letter report 300003004
Page 16 of 56
Table 4. List of field trials with GM ornamentals outside the EU.
Species New
characteristic1
Company/
Research Inst.
Notification
number
Expiry date
Australia (OGTR)
Festuca arundinacea
(Tall fescue)
Improved forage
quality
Victorian
Department of
Primary Industries
(DPI Victoria)
DIR
082/20072
licence for
Dealings
involving
Intentional
Release
(DIR) into
the
environment
Lolium perenne
(Perennial ryegrass)
Improved forage
quality
Victorian
Department of
Primary Industries
(DPI Victoria)
DIR
082/20072
licence for
Dealings
involving
Intentional
Release
(DIR) into
the
environment
Torenia cv.
"Summerwave®"
(Torenia X hybrida)
Modified flower
colour
Florigene/Suntory DIR
068/2006
licence for
Dealings
involving
Intentional
Release
(DIR) into
the
environment
Torenia
(Torenia x hybrida)
Enhanced phosphate
uptake
Florigene/Suntory DIR
084/2008
licence for
Dealings
involving
Intentional
Release
(DIR) into
the
environment
New Zealand
Eustoma grandiflorum
(Lisanthus)
Modified colour Not clear
(Christley and
Woodfield, 2001)
Not listed by
CERA
Petunia Modified colour,
dwarf stature
Crop & Food
Research
(Christley and
Woodfield, 2001)
Not listed by
CERA
USA (ISB)
Potted plants, foliage
Anthurium andreanum Xanthomonas
campestris resistant
University of
Hawaii
05-339-02n 12/01/2006
Anthurium Xanthomonas
Campestris
Diffenbachiae
resistant, selectable
United States
Department of
Agriculture/
Agricultural
13-085109r 05/14/2016
RIVM Letter report 300003004
Page 17 of 56
Species New
characteristic1
Company/
Research Inst.
Notification
number
Expiry date
marker, nematode
resistant
Research Service
Dendrobium Cymbidium mosaic
virus resistant
University of
Hawaii
06-279-106n 12/01/2007
Dendrobium Bacterial resistant,
fungal resistance
University of
Hawaii
06-030-09n 12/01/2006
Dendrobium Cymv resistant University of
Hawaii/Manoa
06-030-09n 11/01/2005
Dendrobium Calonectria
resistant, Erwinia
resistant,
Phytophthora
resistant, Botrytis
resistant
University of
Hawaii/Manoa
99-302-16n 11/01/2000
Dendrobium Flower colour altered University of
Hawaii/Manoa
99-302-17n 11/01/2005
Easter Lily Phosphinothricin
tolerant, reporter
gene
United States
Department of
Agriculture/
Agricultural
Research Service
11-038-108n 04/15/2012
Iris Carotenoid levels
increased
Oregon State
University
10-204-101n 10/01/2011
Bedding plants
Begonia
semperflorens
Glyphosate tolerant Scotts 03-052-71n 03/15/2004
Begonia semperflorens Flower colour altered Scotts 04-106-04n 04/30/2005
Crambe cordifolia3 Altered fatty acid
profile
MacIntosh &
Associates Inc
10-355-
104rm
06/10/2012
Gladiolus Bymv resistant,
phosphinothricin
tolerant
United States
Department of
Agriculture/
Agricultural
Research Service
05-122-06n 11/30/2005
Marigold Production of
Astaxanthin in flower
petals
BASF Plant
Science L.L.C.
07-068-101n 05/03/2008
Marigold carotenoid content
altered
BASF 06-045-03n 04/01/2007
Marigold Glyphosate tolerant Scotts 03-052-03n 03/15/2004
Pelargonium Colour altered Scotts 05-123-01n 05/15/2006
Pelargonium Glyphosate tolerant Scotts 02-115-02n 05/31/2003
Petunia x hybrida Modified scent Max Planck
Institute for
Chemical Ecology
09-323-101r 03/01/2013
Shrubs
Rhododendron Phytophthora
resistant
University of
Connecticut
04-156-05n 06/01/2005
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Page 18 of 56
Species New
characteristic1
Company/
Research Inst.
Notification
number
Expiry date
Rhododendron Visual marker University of
Connecticut
04-156-04n ?
Rosa hybrida Flower colour altered Jackson & Perkins 05-318-07n 11/10/2006
Rosa hybrida Diplocarpon rosae
resistant
Scotts 04-133-04n 06/08/2005
Rosa Modified flower
colour
Jackson & Perkins 07-184-101n 12/13/2008
Grasses
Miscanthus4 Nitrogen utilization
efficiency increase
Ceres Inc. 11-031-
110rm
07/01/2014
Cynodon spp.
Bermudagrass
Phosphinothrin
tolerant
University of
Georgia
07-204-101r 09/10/2010
Agrostis stolonifera5
(creeping Bentgrass)
Drought tolerance
increased, enhanced
phosphate uptake,
salt tolerance
increased,
phosphinothricin
tolerant
Clemson
University
12-080-101r 03/20/2012
Paspalum notatum
(Dwarf Bahiagrass)
Dwarfism, drought
tolerance, salt and
cold tolerance
University of
Florida
06-219-01r 01/27/2008
Festuca arundinacea
(Tall fescue)6
Gray leaf spot
resistant,
Rhizoctonia solani
resistant
North Carolina
State University
11-276-101r 10/14/2011
Festuca arundinacea
(Tall Fescue Endophyte)
Mycotoxin deficient University of
Kentucky
13-242-102r 08/30/2013
Lolium multiflorum
(Italian Ryegrass)
Visual marker,
pollen allergen
reduced
Noble Foundation 05-278-02r 04/05/2007
Poa pratensis
(Kentucky bluegrass)
Altered morphology,
glyphosate tolerant
Scotts 05-112-01r 12/02/2006
Poa pratensis
(Kentucky bluegrass)
Drought tolerance
increased
Rutgers University 01-353-04n 01/17/2002
Lolium perenne
(Perennial ryegrass)
Drought tolerance
increased
University of
Florida
10-243-109n 10/01/2010
Japan (BCH)
Agrostis stolonifera
(creeping
bentgrass)
Tolerant to
glyphosate
Monsanto Japan
Limited
ASR368;
OECD
UI:SMG-
36800-2
2004
Florigene®Moonique™
Modified flower
colour & tolerance to
ALS inhibiting
herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
19907;
IFD-19907-9
2009
Florigene®Moonvelvet™
Modified flower
colour & tolerance to
ALS inhibiting
Florigene/
Suntory
26407;
IFD-26407-2
2011
RIVM Letter report 300003004
Page 19 of 56
Species New
characteristic1
Company/
Research Inst.
Notification
number
Expiry date
herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene®Moonberry™
Modified flower
colour & tolerance to
ALS inhibiting
herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
25958, IFD-
25958-3
2011
Eucalyptus7 Cold tolerance University of
Tsukuba
2013
Cyclamen persicum1 Multi-petal
cyclamens with
complete sterility
n.d. n.d.
1: According to Ohtsubo (Ohtsubo, 2011) this cyclamen will be released in the near future as the third
GM commodity following Suntory's blue carnations and rose. No records have been found on the
Japanese BCH site, and the author did not respond to questions on its current status. It is not clear
whether field experiments have been performed already.
2: Licence is for both perennial ryegrass and tall fescue
3: Crambe cordifolia can be used as an ornamental in the garden. An altered fatty acid profile is
however not a trait that is advantageous for gardeners.
4: Miscanthus is a long grass that could be used as an ornamental grass in gardens.
5: Many other field trials were performed before 2000 by different companies and universities, among
others Scotts with a HT-Glyphosate tolerant variety. This grass is particularly used on golf courses but
can also be used in gardens.
6: Many other field trials were performed before 2000 by different companies and universities, among
others Noble Foundation with a PQ-hygromycid tolerant variety and Purdue University with a HT-
Phosphinothricin tolerant variety
7: Eucalyptus trees are used as ornamentals in the Netherlands
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3.3 Approvals in EU
Ornamentals that are approved in the EU are limited to carnations of the
company Florigene/Suntory (Table 5).
Table 5. Cut flowers with approvals in EU1.
Trade name and ID-
number
Notification
number
Species New
characteristic
marketing
conditions
site
Florigene®Moonaqua™
FLO-40689-6
C/NL/06/01
Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower
colour
Import and
marketing
(JRC)
Florigene®Moonlite™2
FLO-40644-4
C/NL/04/02 Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower
colour
Import and
marketing
(JRC)
1: Both products are developed by Florigene/Suntory. They are also registered in other countries, this
is not further mentioned in this report.
2: the name “Moonlite” is given in the site op GMO compass, not in the JRC site. Confirmed by S.
Chandler.
3.4 Approvals outside EU
Apart from carnations very few other ornamentals are on the market (Table 6).
In Table 6 Florigene®Moonaqua™ and Florigene®Moonlite™ are not mentioned
again.
Table 6. Cut flowers with approvals outside EU.
Trade name Species New characteristic Company Registratio
n in
country
site
Florigene®Moonshadow2™
(FLO-11363-1)
Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
Australia,
Japan
(CERA)
(OECD)
Florigene®Moonvista™
(FLO-4Ø685-1)
Dianthus
caryophyllus Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
Florigene/
Suntory
Australia,
Japan,
Malaysia
(CERA)
Florigene®Moonberry™
(IFD-25958-3)
Dianthus
caryophyllus Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
Malaysia
(import and
use)
(CERA)
Florigene®Moonique™
(IFD-199Ø7-9)
Dianthus
caryophyllus Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
Malaysia
(import and
use)
(CERA)
Florigene®Moonpearl™
(IFD-25947-1)
Dianthus
caryophyllus Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
Malaysia
(import and
use)
(CERA)
Florigene®Moonshade™
(FLO-40619-7)
Dianthus
caryophyllus Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
Florigene/
Suntory
Australia,
Japan,
Malaysia
(CERA)
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Page 21 of 56
Trade name Species New characteristic Company Registratio
n in
country
site
(Import and
use)
Florigene®Moonvelvet™
(IFD-26407-2)
Dianthus
caryophyllus Modified flower colour
& tolerance to ALS
inhibiting herbicides
chlorsulfuron and
sulfonylurea
Florigene/
Suntory
Malaysia
(import and
use)
(CERA)
No commercial name
Event name Petunia-CHS
Petunia
hybrida
Unknown, probably a
modification of colour
Peking
University
China (ISAAA)1
no commercial name
IFD-52901-9
Rosa x
hybrida
Modified colour Florigene/
Suntory
Japan
(cultivation
and use)
Colombia
(cultivation)
(BCH)
Suntory blue rose Applause
IFD-52401-4
Rosa x
hybrida
Modified colour Florigene/
Suntory
Japan
(cultivation
and use)
Colombia
(cultivation)
(BCH)
Australia (OGTR)
(OGTR,
2009)
1: This site is not very accurate and any authorizations mentioned may have been removed from the
market. Authorization of this Petunia is mentioned in several publications, grey literature and the press
(IPS-Vlaanderen, 2013). According to the BBC (2002) it concerns a colour modified Petunia (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Colour modified Petunia
from China (BBC, 2002).
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Page 22 of 56
3.5 Notifications pending in and outside the EU
Very few notifications are pending in the EU. It only concerns three carnations
(Table 7).
Table 7. Cut flowers, notifications pending in EU.
Trade name and ID-
number
Notification
number
Species New
characteristic
marketing
conditions
site
Florigene®Moonvista™
IFD-40685-1
C/NL/13/02 Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower
colour,
Herbicide resistance
(marker gene)
Import and
marketing
(JRC)
SHD-27531-4 (no
commercial name)
C/NL/13/01 Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower
colour,
Herbicide resistance
(marker gene)
Import and
marketing
(JRC)
Florigene®Moonberry™
IFD-25958-3
C/NL/09/01 Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower
colour,
Herbicide resistance
(marker gene)
Import and
marketing
(JRC)
Florigene®Moonvelvet™
IFD-26407-2
C/NL/09/02 Dianthus
caryophyllus
Modified flower
colour,
Herbicide resistance
(marker gene)
Import and
marketing
(JRC)
The following table lists the notifications that are pending outside the EU.
Databases of New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA were searched.
Pending notifications were only found in the USDA-APHIS database.
Table 8. GM ornamentals (cut flowers and grasses), notifications pending outside the EU.
Trade name
and ID-
number
Notification
number
Species New
characteristic
Country marketing
conditions
site
No
commercial
name
12-115-
104n
Petunia Not documented USA release (USDA-
APHIS,
2013)
No
commercial
name
10-062-
106n
Petunia FR-Powdery
Mildew Resistant
USA import (USDA-
APHIS,
2013)
No
commercial
name
13-297-
103n
Panicum
virgatum
(Switch
grass1)
Modified starch
content
USA Probably
release
(USDA-
APHIS,
2013)
No
commercial
name
12-158-
101n
Zoysia
japonica
(Zoysia
grass2)
USA Probably
release
(USDA-
APHIS,
2013)
1: Switch grass (in Dutch “vingergras”) is used as a crop for bio fuel, but can also be used as an
ornamental grass in gardens. It can be combined with other grasses and perennials.
2: Zoysia grass is a warm-season turfgrass that spreads by rhizomes and stolons to produce a very
dense, wear-resistant turf which makes them better adapted to a broader range of environmental
conditions. It has good tolerance to cold, shade, salt and traffic, but its slow growth makes them
difficult to establish.
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3.6 GM ornamentals de-regulated or non-regulated in the USA
Several GM modified ornamentals have been exempted from regulation in the
USA as they are, by the nature of their modification or their weed potential, not
subject to regulation by either APHIS or the USDA. Some of these ornamentals
could not be found in the databases of APHIS or USDA, but are mentioned in the
grey literature.
3.6.1 De-regulated GM ornamentals
1. Carnation in general (modified for colour and improved vase life)
2. Applause rose (IFD-52401-4)
This blue hybrid tea rose (Figure 2) is de-regulated in the USA (BCH),
(USDA-APHIS, 2011a). According to the news release of Suntory (Suntory)
Applause is on the market in the USA since November 2011. However, no
retail information was found on the internet. According to S. Chandler
(personal communication) Applause rose was unsuccessful in the USA
market and imports have ceased.
Figure 2. Applause rose.
3. Rosa hybrida (IFD-52901-9)
The colour of this rose is similar to that of Applause rose (personal
communication S. Chandler). IFD-52901-9 has not been grown
commercially, even in Japan. It was grown for a short time in Colombia on a
trial basis, but it was deemed IFD-52901-4 had more commercial potential
(personal communication S. Chandler).
3.6.2 Non-regulated GM ornamentals
1. Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)
Scotts Miracle-Gro used a biolistic method, also known as a gene gun, rather
than the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a plant pathogen, as a
vehicle for introducing the glyphosate tolerance gene. This means that the
DNA transfer does not involve Agrobacterium or any other plant pest
regulated under the Plant Protection Act (Cummins, 2011). The genetically
‘enhanced’ bluegrass expresses a more glyphosate tolerant form of 5-
enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase from Arabidopsis thaliana.
Other donor genetic elements include: ubiquitin promoter from Oryza sativa
- actin intron from Oryza sativa - alcohol dehydrogenase 3’ UTR from Zea
mays. Kentucky bluegrass is not a federal noxious weed. It is therefore not
RIVM Letter report 300003004
Page 24 of 56
evaluated by the USDA (Federal-Register, 2011). It is listed as an
agricultural seed, and is commonly grown on both home and government
lawns, golf course greens. Kentucky bluegrass is not yet on the market but
still in the early stages of research and development.
2. Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bentgrass), APHIS number 03-104-01p. a
genetically engineered plant (Event ASR368) from the turf cultivar
'Backspin'. A petition for a non-regulated status suggests that A. stolonifera
(ASR368) currently has a regulated status. This is not the case. This event
was not present in the database of the BCH database (BCH). The creeping
bentgrass line ASR368 was produced by means of microprojectile
bombardment of plant cells from the conventional variety B99061R. The
inserted gene is EPSPS, rendering a HT-Glyphosate tolerant phenotype. A
petition for the non-regulated status of creeping bentgrass was submitted by
Monsanto Company and the Scotts Company (see petition for the non-
regulated status (Nelson, 2003)) but is still pending (USDA-APHIS, 2005).
This grass is particularly used on golf courses but can also be used in private
lawns. The use of herbicides reduces the maintenance of private lawns and
is therefore interesting to the public.
3. Petunia
According to Voosen (2011) APHIS decided that modified Petunias did not
fall under its jurisdiction. The types of possible modifications are unknown.
4. Pelargonium
According to Voosen (2011) APHIS decided that modified geranium did not
fall under its jurisdiction. The modifications of actually marketed
Pelargonium are unknown. Field experiments performed by Scotts company
in the USA (Table 4) concerned colour altered and glyphosate tolerant
Pelargonium.
3.7 Import into the Netherlands
The databases of CBS and Eurostat were consulted on statistics of imported
volume. The CBS did not provide import data on ornamentals. Eurostat has not
defined a category of cut flowers or ornamentals for agribulk.
An earlier version of Eurostat however provided an overview of countries
supplying ornamentals to the Netherlands (Table 9). This table shows the main
exporting countries for several cut flowers. Countries appear to have growers
that are specialized in the culture of certain cut flowers. It should be realized
that these data are probably all based on legal imports (GM ornamentals
included).
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Table 9. The leading suppliers of cut flowers and foliage to the Netherlands, 2004 (Fliess et
al., 2006).
The International Trade Center (ITC) provided accumulated information on the
import of cut flowers and flower buds for bouquets. For rose, carnation, and
several grasses detailed information can be generated in maps (Figures 4 to 8).
These maps show the actual import of ornamentals, GM ornamentals included.
Therefore, these data may only indirectly provide information on possible trading
routes of GM ornamentals. The top 10 exporting countries to the Netherlands
are Kenya, Ecuador, Belgium, Ethiopia, Uganda, Colombia, Germany, Italy,
Spain and Zambia. For full details, see Appendix 1.
The site www.alibaba.com was searched using the strings “Blue” and “rose” or
“genetically modified”. No results were obtained other than dyed roses.
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4 Discussion
GM ornamentals that are currently allowed on the market in either the EU or
outside the EU all have a colour modification as a result of the genetic
modification. Apart from colour modifications, there is considerable interest in
the introduction of agronomically useful traits into ornamentals, such as
herbicide resistance, pathogen resistance, modified appearance, drought and
stress resistance. The tables with GM ornamentals (Table 1 and 2) that were
developed on laboratory scale, show that there is indeed a great potential for
modifications both in terms of the number of varieties/species as well as in the
number of possible genes to be introduced. In the open literature, many other
studies with ornamentals are available. This supply of new GM ornamentals can
potentially lead to a number of GM ornamentals on the market. The field
experiments in Tables 3 and 4 show that GM ornamentals with other new
characteristics may be close to introduction into the market.
Despite the many field studies that have been performed only a few GM
ornamentals are currently commercialised. Assumedly many GM ornamentals
tested in the field do not meet the required quality standards. In addition,
several other barriers to the successful marketing of GM ornamentals were
identified by Chandler and Sanchez (2012), Dobres (2008, 2011) and Ohtsubo
(2001). Difficulties in obtaining regulatory approvals, a small niche of GM
ornamentals in the market and a short commercial life were the main obstacles
mentioned in these reviews.
4.1 Candidates for illegal import into the Netherlands
The list of GM ornamentals that are candidates for illegal import into the
Netherlands in the near future is short (see Table 10) and is based three lists:
cut flowers with approvals outside the EU (Table 7),
GM ornamentals that are pending outside the EU (Table 8) or
GM ornamentals that are de-regulated in the USA or non-regulated in
the USA (Chapter 3.6).
Table 10. Candidates for illegal import into the Netherlands.
Species Country of approval/de- or
non-regulated in USA
remarks
Carnations other than those
allowed in the EU
Australia, Japan, Malaysia,
Colombia, Canada, Japan, USA
Ecuador (production)
Modified colour and a marker gene
with resistance to herbicides
Rosa x hybrida
IFD-52901-9
Japan, Colombia Modified aesthetic quality
Rosa x hybrida
Suntory blue rose Applause
IFD-52401-4
Japan, Colombia, Australia,
USA
Modified aesthetic quality
Petunia China Modification unclear, possibly colour
modification
Petunia USA Modification unclear, possibly
several modifications, modified
colour, drought resistance, disease
resistance
Agrostis stolonifera
(creeping bentgrass)
USA Petition for de-regulation is pending
since 2003
Pelargonium USA Modification unclear
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The commercialisation of GM roses was not successful and came to a halt
(personal communication S. Chandler). Import of GM roses from any of the
countries which have registrations (Japan, Colombia, Australia, USA) is therefore
considered to be absent or at least minimal.
Two other GM ornamentals, Petunia and Pelargonium are non-regulated in the
USA. Sales of GM Petunia and GM Pelargonium in the USA therefore seem very
likely. Field experiments with glyphosate tolerant and colour altered Pelargonium
have already been performed in 2003 and 2006, respectively, by Scotts
company. In 2002, Scotts increased its investment in GM technology, by signing
a research and commercialization agreement with New Zealand's Crop & Food
Research that could lay the groundwork for the production of genetically
modified flowering ornamental plants (Crocodyl, 2009). It was announced that
the research would initially focus on Pelargonium. A search on the internet did
not reveal any signs of marketing of Scotts Pelargonium in Europe. Scotts
company has several subsidiary locations in Europe, including one in the
Netherlands, but their products are focussed at lawn care, plant food, disease
and insect control and weed killers. Bedding and pot plants are not part of the
assortment. A problem that arises with non-regulated GM ornamentals such as
Pelargonium and Petunia, is that information on GM modifications may not be
specifically mentioned on the labels that are attached to the plants. Appendix 2,
Figure 6 shows that the import of cut flowers from the USA is minimal (0-2.600
US$ (*1000)). Therefore, import of bedding and potted plants is expected to be
minimal as well. Import of GM Petunia and GM Pelargonium from the USA into
the Netherlands is therefore considered to be unlikely.
4.2 Prioritising the candidates for potential introduction
For each of the candidates mentioned in Table 10, several aspects are being
considered in order to make a priority list. The four aspects below are in order of
the sequence in transport in time.
1. Approvals of the GM ornamental in the exporting country
The likelihood of illegal imports depends on the existence of a GMO
regulation in the exporting country. When no GMO regulation is available,
the exporting company may not have included information on genetic
modifications on the label of the ornamental.
2. Potential import into the Netherlands
The Netherlands is well known for its lively trade in ornamentals. For 2012,
table 10 shows an import value of 735.438.000 dollars for cut flowers and
for flower buds for bouquets. The top 10 EU countries exporting to the
Netherlands are Kenya, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Uganda, Colombia, Zambia,
Israel, Zimbabwe and United Republic of Tanzania. Import into the EU is
legislated under 2001/18/EC, therefore companies need commercial
approval for their products under this Directive if they want to import GM
ornamentals in the Netherlands.
3. Possibilities for detection
New characteristics, such as small flowers of the annual Torenia can be
attained by either genetic modification as well as by traditional breeding.
Therefore, a first relatively simple visual screening of the appearance of the
ornamental can never be decisive and can only be used for screening
ornamentals for genetic modifications. Visual screening should be followed
by a molecular detection method. The development of a molecular technique
requires the availability of the exact sequence of the modified gene. This
information should available with the company that is trading the GM
RIVM Letter report 300003004
Page 28 of 56
ornamental. New traits such as herbicide resistance can be proven with
relatively simple germination tests.
4. Potential environmental and human health risks
For the environmental risk assessment, the following topics will be taken
into consideration:
1. Scope of the risk assessment (depends on type of product)
2. Characteristics of the GM ornamental pertinent to the risk assessment
a. Ecology of the GM ornamental
b. Mode of reproduction
c. Survival and dormancy
d. Dissemination
3. Specific areas of risk
a. Persistence and invasiveness including plant-to-plant gene flow
b. Interactions between the GM ornamental and target and non-
target organisms
c. Effects on human health
d. Effect on the soil ecosystem
4.2.1 Carnation
The blue colour of the GM carnation is achieved by insertion of the dfr and
F3'5'H gene originating from Petunia X hybrida and Viola sp. respectively, in the
genome of carnation varieties with white flowers. These genes produce enzymes
which convert certain flavonoids into delphinidin. Accumulation of delphinidin in
petals results in different shades of violet of the flowers depending on the level
of accumulation (Florigene) (Uchida et al., 2006). This type of modification is
similar for all Florigene carnations.
The four aspects to prioritise GM carnation for its potential introduction are dealt
with below:
1 Approvals of the GM ornamental in the exporting country.
Imports to the Netherlands come from Colombia and Ecuador. The database
of the BCH gives approval for cultivation of carnation in Colombia. According
to Vega (2013) Ecuador has no regulation for the approval of GM traits.
2 Potential import into the Netherlands
Florigene/Suntory produces carnations in Colombia and Ecuador under
contract conditions and they buy all the products. Thus carnations are not
marketed by any other company besides Florigene/Suntory. As
Florigene/Suntory hugely invested in obtaining approvals for their
assortment of carnations it is not expected that this company would take
any risks by undertaking illegal transports (personal communication S.
Chandler).
Most carnations that arrive at airports in the Netherlands or in the port of
Rotterdam, are not intended for the Dutch market, but are directly
transferred to other countries (in particular Russia).
3 Possibilities for detection
Florigene carnations have a modified colour and can be simply visually
recognized as such by inspectors. However, visual detection should be
followed by genetic detection methods (e.g. PCR on the inserted transgene)
to confirm the genetic modification. Images of carnations are given in the
figure below.
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Florigene®Moonberry™ Florigene®Moonique™ Florigene®Moonpearl™ lorigene®Moonvelvet™
Figure 3. Four carnations of Florigene (photos from Florigene from site (Florigene). A
picture of Florigene®Moonshadow™ was not available at this site.
Florigene®Moonaqua™ and Florigene®Moonlite™ have approvals in the EU.
Notifications of Florigene®Moonvista™, Florigene®Moonberry™ and
Florigene®Moonvelvet™ are pending in the EU.
Florigene®Moonshade™, Florigene®Moonique™ and Florigene®Moonpearl™ do not
have approvals in the EU.
4 Potential environmental and human health risks
Scope of the risk assessment
GM Carnations are only sold as cut flowers and are not intended to be
cultured in the Netherlands as the approvals do not include cultivation.
Characteristics
Dianthus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants in the family
Caryophyllaceae. Carnations (D. caryophyllus), have been extensively bred
and hybridised to produce many thousands of cultivars for garden use and
floristry. In the Netherlands, some rare Dianthus species occur: D. deltoides
(steenanjer; Maiden pink), D. armeria (ruige anjer; Deptford pink), D.
superbus, (pracht anjer; Large pink) and D. carthusonarium (Kartuizer
anjer; Charterhouse pink). The species D. barbatus (duizendschoon; Sweet
William) is commonly grown as a garden plant and has established itself in
the wild. Cross-hybridisation with any of these wild Dianthus species would
be possible in theory. However, spontaneous hybridisation between
cultivated carnation and wild Dianthus species has never been reported,
despite decades of cultivation in gardens.
Persistence and invasiveness including plant-to-plant gene flow
Carnation is not able to spread vegetatively, neither does it produce
vegetative organs like bulbs, stolons or rhizomes (COGEM, 2006). As these
carnations are cut flowers, potential flowers cannot form seeds. Thus,
survival and weediness do not need to be considered.
Interactions between the GM plant and target and non-target organisms
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No target or non-target effects are likely to arise from a different colour.
Effects on soil
Exposure of soil microorganisms to GM carnations introduced in the
environment is limited to composting of the withered material. The inserted
genes responsible for the modified colour are not known to be antimicrobial,
and are not expected to persist in soil. Thus, potential adverse effects on the
soil ecosystem because of composting are not expected.
Effects on human health
Consumption of leaves or flowers of carnation might occur incidentally
although they are not intended to be used as food. The petals, however,
might be used as garnishing of salads and desserts. Negative effects of
transgenic proteins on human and animal health are not expected as these
proteins do not share homologies wit known toxins or allergens (COGEM,
2006).
Conclusion
It can be concluded that an illegal import of carnations does not pose a
significant risk to human health or the environment. As the new traits of the
different carnation varieties are similar the EFSA scientific opinion on
Moonaqua can be referred to (EFSA, 2008). The chances of illegal import of
carnations are considered to be minimal.
4.2.2 Rosa x hybrida
GM rose is a possible candidate for illegal environmental introductions in Europe.
In Japan, two GM rose varieties have been approved (IFD-52901-9 and IFD-
52401-4) with modified flavonoid biosynthesis pathway (Table 8). The roses
contain introduced f3’5’h and 5at genes from Florigene plasmid pSPB130 (IFD
2010). Production of these roses takes place in Japan and Colombia. Applause
rose (IFD-52401-4) is produced at a small scale in Japan.
The four aspects to prioritise GM rose for its potential introduction are dealt with
below:
1 Approvals of the GM ornamental in the exporting country.
Approvals for cultivation of the two GM roses are present in both Japan and
Colombia. Japan also has approved the marketing of the GM roses.
2 Potential import into the Netherlands
IFD-52401-has not been grown commercially. It was grown for a short
period in Colombia on a trial basis, but Applause rose IFD-52401-4 had more
commercial potential (personal communication S. Chandler). Import of IFD-
52401-9 is therefore nonexistent. Therefore, the only candidate for potential
import is Applause. Marketing of Applause rose IFD-52401-4 in the USA
(exported from Japan/Colombia) was not successful (personal
communication S. Chandler).
Florigene/Suntory produce these flowers under contract conditions and buy
all the product, so there is no possibility of entry of illegal events from the
grower (personal communication S. Chandler). As Florigene/Suntory hugely
invested in obtaining approvals for these two GM roses, it is not expected
that this company would take any risks by undertaking illegal transports.
The EU distributor of these carnations has not heard of any illegal imports by
other customers of Florigene/Suntory into the EU (personal communication
E. Groot, Florigene Flowers Rijnsburg).
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3 Possibilities for detection
Florigene roses have a modified colour and can be recognized as such by
inspectors. Visual detection should be followed by genetic detection methods
(e.g. PCR on the inserted transgene) to confirm the genetic modification.
4 Potential environmental and human health risks
Risk assessments for these roses are available from Australia (OGTR, 2009)
and the USA (USDA-APHIS, 2011b). The risk assessments cover both
culture of the roses and potential risks related to the cut flowers.
Scope of the risk assessment
GM rosesare only sold as cut flowers and are not intended to be cultured in
the Netherlands as Florigene/Suntory does not have approvals for cultivation
in the Netherlands
Characteristics
Florigene’s roses are modern rose cultivars that have low pollen viability.
This poor viability leads to poor seed set and will produce, even under
optimal conditions of artificial crosses, only 5-15 seeds (OGTR, 2009).
Flower stems for sale are harvested before the buds have opened. Stems
are kept in storage prior to sale.
Florigene’s IFD-524Ø1-4 and IFD-529Ø1-9 roses (Rosa x hybrida) were
produced using disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens (IFD 2010) and
contain 3 transgene fragments (IFD 2010) from plasmid pSPB130 (IFD
2010): a neomycin phosphotransferase gene, a flavonoid 3’, 5’- hydroxylase
gene and ananthocyanin 5-acyltransferase gene.
Persistence and invasiveness including plant-to-plant gene flow
According to the risk assessment of USDA-APHIS (2011b) IFD-52901-9
roses (IFD-52901-4 roses as well) are L1 periclinal chimeras. The introduced
f3’5’h and 5at genes are only found and expressed in the epidermal tissues
and cannot be passed on to progeny through cross pollination (i.e.,
outcrossing). This was demonstrated in field experiments. Moreover, it is
unlikely that pollination occurs after sale because of the limited vase life of
the flowers. Thus, reproduction, survival and dissemination do not need to
be considered.
Roses are not listed as a weed in several major weed references. There is no
increased weediness potential due to the inserted DNA as compared with
their non-modified comparators. It can be concluded that IFD-52401-4 and
IFD-52901-9 roses do not have an increased risk of becoming persistent and
invasive compared to conventional hybrid tea roses.
Interactions between the GM plant and target and non-target organisms
No target or non-target effects are likely to arise from a different colour.
Effects on soil
The exposure of soil microorganisms to GM roses introduced in the
environment is limited to composting of the withered material. The genes
expressing the modified colour are not known to be antimicrobial, and are
not expected to persist in soil. Thus, potential adverse effects on the soil
ecosystem as a consequence of composting are not expected
Effects on human health
Consumption of leaves or flowers of roses might occur incidentally although
they are not intended to be used as food. The petals, however, might be
used as garnishing of salads and desserts. Negative effects of transgenic
proteins on human and animal health are not expected as these proteins do
not share homologies with known toxins or antigens.
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None of the foods or ornamental plants that contain delphinidin are known
to pose unique environmental risks because of the presence of delphinidin,
its precursor biochemicals or catalytic enzymes (i.e., F3’5’H or 5AT) in the
anthocyanin pathways.
Conclusion
It can be concluded that an illegal import of these GM roses (both the rose
and the cut flower) in the Netherlandswould not pose a significant risk to
human health or the environment. Moreover, the chances of illegal import
into the Netherlands are considered to be minimal.
4.2.3 Creeping bentgrass
Although creeping bentgrassgrass will be primarily used as feed, it can also be
used in private lawns or in gardens as an ornamental. Creeping bentgrass is
native to Western Europe including the Netherlands. Particularly for this reason
the potential risks of GM creeping bentgrass needs to be assessed.
The four aspects to prioritise GM creeping bentgrass for its potential introduction
are dealt with below:
1. Approvals of the GM ornamental in the exporting country.
GM ornamentals are regulated in the USA. For creeping bentgrass a petition
for de-regulation is ongoing. An approval for creeping bentgrass was not
found in the BCH database. It seems that a petition of de-regulation can be
made directly, without a preceding approval. GM creeping bentgrass is not
available on the market yet.
2. Potential import into the Netherlands
Figures 7 to 9 show that the USA is exporting several grasses to the
Netherlands. The trade value is 1.400-5600 US$ (*1000) for Kentucky blue
grass (Poa pratensis), 3.000-5200 US$ (*1000) for fescue and 2.100-
8.400 US$ (*1000) for rye grass (Lolium perenne). This shows that the
trade of grass seeds is well embedded in current import routes. For creeping
bentgrass trade values are not available. Since a petition for the non-
regulated status of a specific GM creeping bentgrass strain A. stolonifera
(event ASR368 from the turf cultivar 'Backspin') is still pending since 2003,
import of this grass is therefore considered to be unlikely.
3. Possibilities for detection
As only the seeds will be imported, inspectors will not have possibilities for
visual detection, apart from the product name on the label. A first easy way
of detection is a germination test. An application with glyphosate at the
recommended concentration will give a strong indication that the seeds are
genetically modified when the seedlings will survive the glyphosate
application. According to Table 13 in the Appendix 3, the germination time of
bentgrass is 10-14 days. Depending on the age of the seedlings at testing,
the time needed to accomplish this test would be at least three weeks. In a
next step molecular techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
assay and Southern blot analysis could confirm that the plants are indeed
transgenic and fall under GMO regulation.
4. Potential environmental and human health risks
Scope of the risk assessment
Prins et al. (2009) included grasses in their proposed priority list as they
have a likelihood of dispersal. Species that were considered were creeping
bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis), tall
fescue (F. arundinacea) perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), Italian
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ryegrass (L. multiflorum), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and
westerwolds ryegrass (L. multiflorum var. westerwoldicum).
According to these authors, GM creeping bentgrass (A. stolonifera) is not
allowed for cultivation anymore in any part of the world and import into the
EU is therefore less likely. However, in the USA a petition for de-regulation
GM glyphosate resistant creeping bentgrass is now pending (USDA-APHIS,
2005). If the petition will be accepted, GM creeping bentgrass could be
available on the market soon and could therefore be illegally imported in the
Netherlands.
A preliminary risk assessment was prepared by USDA-APHIS (2003) for A.
stolonifera. In addition potential risks of GM A. stolonifera were described in
a case study (Bauer-Panskus et al., 2013). In case of a possible illegal
introduction into the Netherlands (or Europe) only the introduction of seeds
is considered relevant for the risk assessment.
Characteristics
Creeping bentgrass is native to Eurasia and North Africa (US-Forest-
Service). In the flora of the Netherlands (Van Oostrum, 1977) A. stolonifera
is described as a native species. Next of kin are A. canina, A, tenuis and A.
gigantea. It was probably introduced to North America prior to 1750, and
has become naturalized throughout the southern Canadian provinces and
most of the United States. Bentgrass reproduces by seed and stolons. It is
sexually compatible with many other related species of Agrostis (bentgrass)
and Polypogon (rabbit's-foot grass) (USDA-APHIS, 2003). In the USA,
creeping bentgrass can form hybrids with at least 13 naturalized or native
species. In pastures and meadows of Europe, creeping bentgrass seeds can
survive in the soil for at least 1 year. Others (Bauer-Panskus et al., 2013)
mention a period of four years. Bentgrass is wind-pollinated and produces
large amounts of pollen. Up to 100.000 pollen per square meter were
detected at a 2-3 kilometer distance from a bentgrass field (Bauer-Panskus
et al., 2013).
A genetically modified creeping bentgrass has been developed that is
tolerant to herbicides containing glyphosate as the active ingredient (Watrud
et al., 2004). It contains a single insert of the EPSP gene. The CP4-EPSPS
protein is an enzyme, 5-enolpyruvyl-shikimate-3-phosphate synthase,
derived from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4, that unlike most native plant
and microbial EPSPS enzymes, is naturally tolerant to the glyphosate
herbicide (USDA-APHIS, 2005).
Persistence and invasiveness including plant-to-plant gene flow
Field trials were performed in central Oregon (USA) in 2004 with the above
described GM creeping bentgrass. The field trial covered an area of 160 ha.
The bentgrass was glyphosate treated. It was found that pollen from
transgenic bentgrass had introgressed into wild growing bentgrass
populations. Outcrossing into wild bentgrass populations and the sexually
compatible species Agrostis gigantea took place at distances of up to 14
kilometers; cross-pollination by using trap plants was even found at a
distance of 21 kilometers.
Application of glyphosate confers an advantage to GM bentgrass compared
with non-modified bentgrass. The preliminary conclusion of USDA-APHIS
(2003) was that there is the possibility that glyphosate-tolerant creeping
bentgrass and/or glyphosate tolerant relatives (hybrids) would establish in
various urbanized, rural and natural areas.
Interactions between the GM plant and target and non-target organisms
For all other aspects GM bentgrass probably does not differ from its natural
counterpart as the inserted gene conferring tolerance to glyphosate is not
likely to give any advantage in these aspects.
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Effects on soil
Similar as written above.
Effects on human health
Grasses are not suitable for human consumption. Accidental consumption is
not expected either. Therefore, negative effects of transgenic proteins on
human health are not expected. Effects on animal health are not expected
as the new trait is based on herbicide-tolerance and the CP4 EPSPS protein
is not considered a toxicant or allergen (OECD, 1999).
Conclusion
It can be concluded that there is a high risk of outbreeding of creeping
bentgrass in case glyphosate is applied. This species is native in the
Netherlands and outcrossing can occur with other native species. This is a
serious concern as these species are strongly outbreeding.
The chances of illegal import into the Netherlands are considered to be
minimal as this GM grass is not yet available on the market.
4.2.4 Petunia
Known as garden petunias, this genus has a long history (since the 19th
century) of artificial crossings, and the hybrids between Petunia axillaris (Lam.)
and Petunia integrifolia (Hook.) are disseminated worldwide as ornamental
plants (Petunia hybrida) (Lorenz-Lemke et al., 2006). The genetics of the flower
colour has been reviewed by Tornielli et al. (2009) while the background of other
modifications has been described in a book of Gerats and Strommer (2009).
Tables 2, 3 and 4 shows that modifications for many different characteristics
such as drought resistance, modified colour, disease resistance, modified habit,
male sterility and modified scent have been successful.
1. Approvals of the GM ornamental in the exporting country
In China at least one GM Petunia variety appears to be on the market. In
China GM organisms need to be registrated. The Biosafety Clearing House
of China (BCH_CHINA) however does not provide information on petunias.
One Petunia is approved for cultivation in 1998 although an official
document is not available according to ISAAA (ISAAA), (Gale et al., 2001).
Details on its modification are not available but there is indirect evidence
that it concerns a reddish colour modification (Figure 1).
In the USA Petunia is non-regulated. It is unclear whether GM Petunia is
currently available on the USA market and what the new traits would be.
2. Potential import into the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, many different Petunia varieties are on the market.
Introduction of a new variety only stands out against all others when it is
different from colour or a new trait such a drought or cold resistance. Import
from China of all cut flowers is quite low with 115.000 US$ (*1000) (ITC).
Thus, the import of bedding plants might even be lower. Exact data are,
however, not available. Import of seed packages of red Shock Wave™
Petunia from the USA, on the other hand, is relatively easy. It is however
not known if red Shock Wave™ Petunia is genetically modified. In principle,
some new characteristics can be achieved through genetic modification as
well as through conventional breeding. The red Shock Wave™ petunias sold
by Park Seed is a good example as the colour red does not occur naturally in
petunias except in Petunia exserta (Griesbach et al., 1999). This species is
very rare and only occurs in the Serra do Sudeste region in the extreme
south of Brazil and is not brought into cultivation. Apart from being red, this
red Shock Wave™ Petunia is claimed to be disease resistant, heat tolerant
and pest resistant. The question arises how these new traits have been
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achieved. Seeds are sold on the internet by Park Seed in the USA in
packages of 10 seeds for $4.50. It is not possible through this desk research
to establish whether these petunias are genetically modified or obtained
through conventional breeding.
3. Possibilities for detection
The exact modifications of the USA GM petunias are unknown. For these
petunias detection methods are therefore not available. Allegedly, the
Chinese GM Petunia can be recognized by its red colour. As a red colour can
also be achieved through traditional breeding techniques, it is difficult to
visually recognize a GM Petunia by its colour.
4. Potential environmental and human health risks
Scope of the risk assessment
Petunias are marketed as bedding and pot plants as well as seeds. As the
inserted gene is unknown, the following environmental risk assessment
could not be based on existing risk assessments and will be incomplete.
Characteristics
The genus Petunia consists of 14 currently recognized species native to
temperate and subtropical South America (Stehman et al., 2009). An
historical overview on Petunia research is given by Gerats and Strommer
(2009). Petunia has been an ideal model system for several reasons. It has
an easy and fast growth cycle, donates prolific material, and it is easy to
transform. Many forward and reverse genetic strategies have been worked
out thanks to its transposable element system.
Persistence and invasiveness including plant-to-plant gene flow
Petunia is not indigenous in the Netherlands and its seed is not expected to
survive the cold winters as Petunia is native to temperate and subtropical
South America. The risk of invasiveness is considered to be minimal as
Petunia has no potential for weediness.
Interactions between the GM plant and target and non-target organisms
As the exact modifications of the possibly GM Petunia from the USA and the
Chinese GM Petunia are unknown, this part of the risk assessment cannot be
performed. Concerning the assumed red colour of the Chinese GM Petunia,
no target or non-target effects are likely to arise from a different colour.
There are no effects on pollinating insects either as insects are able to see
the colour red. Other risks depend on other introduced traits.
Effects on soil
No effects of a modified colour on soil organisms are known to occur.
Effects on human health
If GM Petunia had indeed only a modified colour negative effects of
transgenic proteins on human and animal health are not expected as these
proteins probably do not share homologies with known toxins or allergens.
Conclusion
The exact modification of the above described petunias is unknown. In case
of a modification of the colour it can be concluded from a preliminary risk
assessment that an illegal import of these GM Petunia in the Netherlands
does not pose a significant risk to human health or the environment.
Illegal imports into the Netherlands of seed packages are considered to be
likely.
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4.2.5 Pelargonium
Several successful transformations are listed in Table 2. New characteristics
include a modified appearance and a modification of the floral scent. Field
experiments have been performed in the USA with glyphosate-resistant and
colour modified Pelargonium (Scotts company).
1. Approvals of the GM ornamental in the exporting country
GM Pelargonium is not regulated in the USA.
2. Potential import into the Netherlands
Field experiments performed by Scotts company in the USA (Table 4)
concerned glyphosate tolerant Pelargonium and Pelargonium with a modified
colour. It is unknown whether GM Pelargonium is actually on the market in
the USA. Pelargonium can be easily bought on the internet as seed
packages.
3. Possibilities for detection
As the modification of GM Pelargonium from the USA is unknown there are
no possibilities for its detection.
4. Potential environmental and human health risks
Scope of the risk assessment
As the inserted gene is unknown, the following environmental risk
assessment will be incomplete. In general, Pelargonium is sold as a potting
or bedding plant. Seeds of Pelargonium can also be purchased.
Characteristics
Pelargonium is a genus of flowering plants which includes about 200 species
of perennials, succulents, and shrubs, commonly known as geraniums.
Confusingly, Geranium is the correct botanical name of a separate genus of
related plants often called cranesbills or hardy geraniums. Both genera
belong to the family Geraniaceae. Pelargonium species are evergreen
perennials indigenous to Southern Africa, and are drought and heat tolerant,
but can tolerate only minor frosts. They are extremely popular garden
plants, grown as bedding plants in temperate regions (Wikipedia).
Persistence and invasiveness including plant-to-plant gene flow
Pelargonium is not indigenous in the Netherlands and is not able to
hibernate in the garden. The risk of invasiveness is considered to be minimal
as Pelargonium has no potential for weediness.
Interactions between the GM plant and target and non-target organisms
As the exact modification is unknown, this part of the risk assessment
cannot be performed.
Effects on soil
As the exact modification is unknown, this part of the risk assessment
cannot be performed.
Effects on human health
As the exact modification of Pelargonium is unknown it is not possible to
assess whether an illegal import of GM Pelargonium in the Netherlands
poses a significant risk to human health or the environment.
Conclusion
The exact modification of GM Pelargonium is unknown. In case of a
modification of the colour it can be concluded from a preliminary risk
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assessment that an illegal import of these GM pelargoniums in the
Netherlands does not pose a significant risk to human health or the
environment. Illegal imports into the Netherlands of seed packages are
considered to be likely.
4.3 Prioritisation
In the table below the evaluated aspects are summarized. The priority for ILT to
survey the specific GM ornamental depends on the availability on the foreign
market, the possibility of import, the detection methods and the potential
environmental and human health risks. In case either the import or the potential
risks are considered to be low, the resulting priority is low.
Table 11. Summary of evaluated aspects.
Species Priority
Exporting
country;
Company
Import Detection
method Potential
environment
al and
human
health risks
Carnations
other than
those allowed
in the EU
Low Colombia,
Ecuador;
Florigene/
Suntory
Only transit
shipments Visual,
followed by
molecular
techniques4
Low
Rosa x hybrida Low Japan,
Colombia;
Florigene/
Suntory
Not likely1 Visual,
followed by
molecular
techniques4
Low
Rose Applause Low Japan;
Florigene/
Suntory
Not likely1
Visual,
followed by
molecular
techniques4
Low
Petunia Low China Unknown
but not
likely1
Visual,
followed by
molecular
techniques5
Low, in case of
colour
modification
Agrostis
stolonifera
(creeping
bentgrass)
Low, but
changes to
high when
commer-
cialized
USA;
Scotts
Company
No, not
commer-
cialized yet
Seedling test,
followed by
molecular
techniques6
Environmental
risks
potentially
high
Petunia Medium USA Unknown2, 3
Unknown,
discrimination
between GM
and traditional
breeding
techniques is
unclear
Low, in case of
colour
modification
Pelargonium
Medium USA Unknown2, 3 No,
modification
unknown5
Unknown
1. Import is unlikely as Florigene/Suntory is well in control of the trade
2. Import of annuals unlikely as total value of import from this country is very low (Appendix 2,
Figure 6)
3. Import of seed packages through the post is considered to be a possible route
4. Detection method for the insert is present in the dossier
5. Detection method should be accessible with the exporting company
6. Detection method is known to Scotts Company
Table 11 shows that only a few candidates of illegal import into the Netherlands
were identified.
Carnations, other than those that have approvals in the EU may pass the
Netherlands through transits.
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GM roses are produced at a small scale in Colombia and Japan but illegal
imports into the Netherlands are considered to be absent. Its new characteristic
is probably a red colour but this could not be confirmed in the official databases.
Petunia is non-regulated in the USA. Therefore it is unclear whether GM modified
Petunia is available on the USA market. A problem in the identification of
possibly GM petunias is that many characteristics could also be achieved with
traditional breeding techniques. Medium priority was given to GM Petunia from
the USA as the seeds can be easily ordered by internet. Low priority was given
to GM Petunia from China as the risks of a modification of the colour are
considered to be low.
The potential environmental risks of the grass Agrostis stolonifera (creeping
bentgrass) are considered to be high if grown in combination with glyphosate.
But, since this grass is no yet commercialized, ILT inspection is not needed yet.
At last, the presence of GM Pelargonium in the USA is unknown. A medium
priority was given to GM Pelargonium from the USA as the seeds can be easily
ordered by internet.
Perspectives in ornamental breeding
Databank of constructs
The CRES-T system (Chimeric REpressor gene-Silencing Technology) is a novel
gene silencing technology for genes encoding transcription factors. In the
resulting transgenic plants, certain genes will be suppressed even in presence of
redundant transcription factors. A database was designed to provide phenotypic
information of various plants which were modified with this CRES-T technology
(CRES-T). This database shows all possible constructs that are available for
carnation, Rosa, Torenia fournieri, Gentiana, Pharbitis, Chrysanthemum,
Eustoma and Cyclamen. This CREST-T system may shorten and accelerate the
development of a marketable GM ornamental as the initial laboratory work has
already been accomplished.
Reverse genetics
Reverse genetics seeks to find what phenotypes arise as a result of particular
genetic sequences. Using various techniques, a gene's function is altered and
the effect on the development of the plant is analyzed. The techniques include
either classical non-transgenic mutagenesis methods or transgenic methods
such as transposon insertion mutagenesis. Thus, reverse genetics is potentially
accelerating the breeding of new varieties using either non-transgenic or
transgenic techniques. As the regulatory system in Canada and the USA is
different from the EU, several products of reverse genetics using transgenic
mutagenesis methods may already be on the market. This could however, not
be confirmed during this inventory.
Recommendations
This desk research did not reveal evidence of illegal imports of GM ornamentals
into the Netherlands. This was confirmed by recent reviews on this topic. This
report however shows that many GM ornamentals could potentially be
introduced on the market. As some GM ornamentals in the USA and Canada are
non-regulated, ILT inspections should remain alert, in particularly of
introductions of grass seed of Agrostis stolonifera. The main problem that will be
encountered is that the exact modifications of non-regulated GM ornamentals,
such as Petunia and Pelargonium from the USA, are unknown and detection
methods are therefore absent. In case of suspicious introductions, further
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inquiries can be made with the exporting company in order to establish whether
the suspicious introductions are genetically modified or not.
Acknowledgements
The realization of this report was accompanied by my colleagues Boet Glandorf
and Eric van den Akker. I thank them for giving me very useful suggestions on
how to organize this desk research and for their efforts to scrutinize the interim
reports. I also highly appreciated the input of Steve Chandler on the regulatory
status of all GM carnations and his willingness to answer many questions.
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Appendix 1, Countries exporting to the Netherlands
Table 12 lists the exporting countries for all cut flowers and flower buds for
bouquets.
Table 12. List of supplying markets for cut flowers and flower buds for bouquets, fresh or
dried. Imports values per year (unit: US dollar thousand) (prepared from (ITC).
Exporters 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
World 821100 711073 634123 750498 735438
Kenya 337324 300933 295811 329893 321908
Ecuador 93680 78789 72907 79533 81969
Belgium 18581 48850 54086 84216 64524
Ethiopia 92665 89840 35725 39869 43731
Uganda 35931 34299 27398 30394 30982
Colombia 27293 25526 27211 26479 30745
Germany 15595 12462 11358 27164 29999
Italy 20446 15288 16090 24926 25147
Spain 13770 8475 8991 18899 17687
Zambia 17754 12693 10923 11337 14635
Israel 46419 8620 8907 10990 11865
Zimbabwe 23745 18121 18260 13300 10345
United Kingdom 11219 7094 4191 7357 8855
United Republic of Tanzania 15021 13257 9795 9747 7114
South Africa 6684 5414 6374 6032 5780
France 8089 5461 4588 5523 4453
Portugal 7571 5257 3631 4172 4373
Thailand 4166 2592 2389 2956 3311
Turkey 865 951 549 248 3274
Peru 2926 2734 2420 3174 2632
Europe Othr. Nes 343 310 526 2314 2380
Costa Rica 750 600 502 623 1851
Ghana 134 939 1062 1277 1424
Egypt 2097 1237 818 1027 989
Australia 1491 1190 947 817 633
Chile 2350 1410 1092 948 612
India 3934 2811 1302 800 596
Poland 586 439 404 368 519
Ireland 220 202 162 321 462
Guatemala 411 411 448 414 302
Malaysia 180 96 84 222 293
Serbia 78 96 235 181 267
Mexico 1018 573 81 84 252
Denmark 221 123 867 1850 233
Norway 0 0 0 0 203
Côte d'Ivoire 342 114 17 73 159
United States of America 220 120 160 72 134
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China 246 515 632 40 115
Suriname 113 121 138 133 109
New Zealand 1239 494 402 441 101
Malawi 317 25 101 53 100
Japan 258 293 211 121 95
Morocco 382 198 16 19 76
Philippines 177 96 52 65 58
Palestine, State of 551 6 395 220 42
Brazil 1306 854 422 229 20
Romania 0 0 0 0 16
Bulgaria 0 0 0 0 10
Hungary 84 40 30 22 8
Argentina 75 236 85 13 6
Sri Lanka 22 25 0 21 6
Lithuania 87 0 12 13 6
Croatia 0 0 11 5 5
Tunisia 6 43 310 160 5
Luxembourg 0 0 1 0 4
Chinese Taipei 611 74 73 53 4
Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 4
Viet Nam 1 156 86 1 3
Burundi 280 27 0 0 2
Sweden 0 0 0 0 2
Czech Republic 0 0 0 1 1
Korea, Republic of 0 0 0 3 1
Slovakia 10 0 0 0 1
Slovenia 0 0 0 0 1
Nauru 0 0 3 0 0
Albania 55 3 0 0 0
Austria 850 459 744 1112 0
Armenia 0 0 0 0 0
Bolivia 4 0 15 0 0
Canada 0 29 0 0 0
Dominican Republic 35 3 0 27 0
Eritrea 0 0 0 2 0
Estonia 0 0 3 3 0
Gambia 1 0 0 0 0
Honduras 0 0 0 96 0
Indonesia 1 0 0 0 0
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 10 1 11 5 0
Jordan 0 0 0 7 0
Mauritius 0 1 0 0 0
Mozambique 118 39 12 0 0
Nepal 1 0 0 0 0
Nicaragua 3 0 0 0 0
Rwanda 91 0 0 0 0
Sao Tome and Principe 4 0 0 0 0
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Singapore 0 7 0 0 0
Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0
Syrian Arab Republic 0 0 49 0 0
Uruguay 40 0 0 33 0
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Appendix 2, Trade of ornamentals
In Figures 4 and 5 the trade of roses and carnations expressed in US$ (*1000).
Figure 6 expresses the trade of all cut flowers (excl. roses, carnations, orchids,
chrysanthemums and gladioli).
Figures 7 to 9 show the trade of three grass species. The different colours in the
map correspond with the tariffs applied by Netherlands to all exporting
countries. For this report, only the extent of the trade is of interest, which is
presented by the pink circles in each map.
Figure 4. Import of into the Netherland of fresh cut roses and buds.
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Figure 5. Import of into the Netherland of fresh carnations and buds (Source: Trade Map
supplied by the International Trade Centre (ITC)).
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Figure 6. Import of into the Netherland of fresh cut flowers and buds (excl. roses,
carnations, orchids, chrysanthemums and gladioli). (Source: Trade Map supplied by the
International Trade Centre (ITC)).
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Figure 7. Import of into the Netherland of seeds of Kentucky blue grass (Poa pratensis) for
sowing. (Source: Trade Map supplied by the International Trade Centre (ITC)).
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Figure 8. Import of into the Netherland of seeds of fescue (Festuca arundinacea) for
sowing. (Source: Trade Map supplied by the International Trade Centre (ITC)).
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Figure 9. Import of into the Netherland of seeds of rye grass (Lolium perenne) for sowing.
(Source: Trade Map supplied by the International Trade Centre (ITC)).
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Appendix 3, Grass seed germination rates
Table 13. Germination rates of grass seed (UC-IPM-Online).
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Appendix 4, Blue roses obtained through traditional
breeding
Applause is a GM rose which has a mauve/violet colour. Traditional breeding
cannot approach this colour. Nevertheless, there are roses carrying names that
suggest they are blue/purple (Table 14).
Table 14. Blue roses obtained through traditional breeding.
Trade name Breeder Country of
generation website
Blue Moon (Rozenrijk)
(LaMarco)
Blue River (Rozenrijk)
Big Purple P. Stephens,
1986 (Rozenrijk)
Blackberry Nip (Rozenrijk)
Lilac Miracle NL
(Rozenrijk)
Rhapsody in Blue Kordes Germany (Rozenrijk)
Liliac Miracle Rozenrijk NL (Rozenrijk)
Blue Girl Nirp (Rozenrijk)
Blue for You
(Synonyms:
Pacific Dream, Ellerines,
Honky Tonk Blues)
(Thousand-islands-
roses)
Blue girl (LaMarco)
Blue Nile (LaMarco)
Shocking Blue (LaMarco)
Blueberry Hill (LaMarco)
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The global flower industry thrives on novelty. Genetic engineering is providing a valuable means of expanding the floriculture gene pool so promoting the generation of new commercial varieties. There has been extensive research on the genetic transformation of different flowering plant species, and many ornamental species have now been sucessfully transformed, including those which are most important commercially. To date, more than 30 ornamental species have been transformed, including anthurium, begonia, carnation, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, datura, daylily, gentian, gerbera, gladiolus, hyacinth, iris, lily, lisianthus, orchid, pelargonium, petunia, poinsettia, rose, snapdragon and torenia (Deroles et al. 2002) New ornamental plant varieties are being created by breeders in response to consumer demand for new products. In general terms engineered traits are valuable to either the consumer or the producer. At present only consumer traits appear able to provide a return capable of supporting what is still a relatively expensive molecular breeding tool. Commercialisation of genetically engineered flowers is currently confined to novel coloured carnations. The production of novel flower colour has been the first success story in floriculture genetic engineering. However, further products are expected given the level of activity in the field. Other traits that have received attention include floral scent, floral and plant morphology, senescence of flowers both on the plant and post-harvest and disease resistance. To date, there are only a few ornamental genetically modified (GM) products in development and only one, a carnation genetically modified for flower colour, in the marketplace. There are approximately 8 ha of transgenic carnation in production worldwide, largely in South America. The other breeding programs on colour modification or alteration of plant architecture and height remain focusses on rose, gerbera and various pot plant species.
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Both genome breeding (classical hybridisation) and molecular breeding approaches are used concurrently in our program for varietal development of Dendrobium and Anthurium as cut flowers and blooming potted plants. Two transgenic lines of anthurium 'Paradise Pink', engineered to produce the cecropinlike Shiva 1 lytic peptide, were able to significantly resist anthurium blight caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae when compared to a standard resistant cultivar 'Kalapana'. However, disease severity could be significantly increased as well using the same transgene approach in a different genotype, 'Tropic Flame'. These lines were shown to be compatible with beneficial leaf-associated bacteria that can aid in suppressing blight, suggesting that use of GMO plants could be combined with beneficial bacteria to provide durable protection against anthurium blight disease. Blight resistance incorporated by hybridisation of A. andraeanum types with A. antioquiense also enhanced resistance, but the marketdesired heart-shaped spathe form was difficult to recover. Both gene and genome breeding for resistance occurred in a comparable time frame of less than 10 years. Dendrobium orchid breeding has benefit greatly from molecular tools in understanding genetic control of flower colour. A chemical survey of Dendrobium species and hybrids showed lavender cyanidin and peonidin to be the predominant anthocyanidin and orange pelargonidin to be rare. Our cloning and characterization of key anthocyanin biosynthetic genes such as of dihydroflavanol 4-reductase enables more productive hybridisation strategies to be implemented.
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The RIVM has made an inventory of genetically modified (GM) organisms that could be illegally imported into the European Union, now or in the near future. In recent years, some varieties of genetically modified ornamental fish have appeared illegally on the EU market. The research in the current report focused on genetically modified animals and micro-organisms that have not yet been authorized on the EU market, especially since an inventory of genetically modified crops has already been drawn up. It appears that besides genetically modified ornamental fish, veterinary vaccines and pesticides that contain genetically modified micro-organisms could potentially be illegally imported. Furthermore, ‘medical tourism’ and ‘do-ityourself biology’ may lead to the undesirable introduction of genetically modified organisms into the environment. There are currently no genetically modified food/feed animals, pets, or insects on the market, but this may change in the near future, depending on the admission or rejection of current market applications. This report was commissioned by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, formerly the VROM Inspectorate. One of the report’s objectives is to provide decision-making tools for the Inspectorate with regard to which genetically modified organisms will require the most attention (now and in the near future), how they can be detected and which agency is responsible for the enforcement. The RIVM has examined which genetically modified organisms have already been admitted to the market or could be admitted soon. This was done by consulting the databases of agencies dealing with authorization of genetically modified organisms, both within and outside Europe. In addition, literature and internet resources were studied. Data were also taken from agencies involved in the inspection and enforcement of genetically modified organisms. For each category of organisms within the inventory (ranging from genetically modified bacteria and viruses, insects, fish, and small animals to cattle) an estimation of the likelihood of import was made. Further included is whether an environmental risk assessment is available that may be helpful for assessing the potential risks to human health and the environment.
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Cyclamen persicum (cyclamen) is a commercially valuable, winter-blooming perennial plant. We cloned two cyclamen orthologues of AGAMOUS (AG), CpAG1 and CpAG2, which are mainly expressed in the stamen and carpel, respectively. Cyclamen flowers have 5 petals, but expression of a chimeric repressor of CpAG1 (CpAG1-SRDX) caused stamens to convert into petals, resulting in a flower with 10 petals. By contrast, CpAG2-SRDX only caused incomplete formation of stamens and carpels. Expression in Arabidopsis thaliana showed similar effects on flower organ specification. Simultaneous expression of CpAG1-SRDX and CpAG2-SRDX in cyclamen induced rose-like, multi-petal flowers, a potentially valuable trait in commercial ornamental varieties. Expression of CpAG2-SRDX in a cyclamen mutant lacking expression of CpAG1 more effectively produced multi-petal flowers. Here, we controlled the number of petals in cyclamen by simple genetic engineering with a chimeric repressor. This strategy may be applicable useful for other ornamental plants with two distinct AG orthologues.
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Although phosphorus is an essential factor for proper plant growth in natural environments, an excess of phosphate in water sources causes serious pollution. In this paper we describe transgenic plants which hyperaccumulate inorganic phosphate (Pi) and which may be used to reduce environmental water pollution by phytoremediation. AtPHR1, a transcription factor for a key regulator of the Pi starvation response in Arabidopsis thaliana, was overexpressed in the ornamental garden plants Torenia, Petunia, and Verbena. The transgenic plants showed hyperaccumulation of Pi in leaves and accelerated Pi absorption rates from hydroponic solutions. Large-scale hydroponic experiments indicated that the enhanced ability to absorb Pi in transgenic torenia (AtPHR1) was comparable to water hyacinth a plant that though is used for phytoremediation causes overgrowth problems.
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Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in the range of technologies available to breeders of commodity crops. This has included the use of molecular markers1 and transgenic technologies2 to bring about signi‰cant increases in crop yields. Despite this availability and a signi‰cant amount of academic and industrial experimentation, these technologies have not been effectively applied to the development and commercialization of ornamental plants. This essay seeks to explain the commercial and business reasons behind this apparent missed opportunity.
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Petunia flower colors are mainly due to flavonoids. The flower color of commercial varieties of Petunia hybrida was successfully modified by the suppression of endogenous flavonoid biosynthetic genes, the expression of a hetelorogous flavonoid biosynthetic gene, and the combination of both. Flower color changed from purple to almost white or from purple to red by the suppression of the endogenous gene expression, from red to orange by the down-regulation of the flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase gene and the expression of the rose dihydroflavonol 4-reductase gene, and from violet to pale violet by the expression of the flavonol synthase or flavone synthase gene. These results clearly indicate the usefulness of metabolic engineering of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway to modify flower color. Only a few of the transgenic petunia exhibited phenotypic stability. For commercialisation, it is necessary to generate many independent transgenic lines, select elite lines with stable phenotypes and maintain them in tissue culture.
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Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.) have no purple-, violet-, or blue-flowered cultivars because they lack delphinidin-based anthocyanins. This deficiency is due to the absence of the flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase gene (F3'5'H), which encodes the key enzyme for delphinidin biosynthesis. In F3'5'H-transformed chrysanthemums, unpredictable and unstable expression levels have hampered successful production of delphinidin and reduced desired changes in flower color. With the aim of achieving delphinidin production in chrysanthemum petals, we found that anthocyanin biosynthetic gene promoters combined with a translational enhancer increased expression of some F3'5'H genes and accompanying delphinidin-based anthocyanin accumulation in transgenic chrysanthemums. Dramatic accumulation of delphinidin (up to 95%) was achieved by simple overexpression of Campanula F3'5'H controlled by a petal-specific flavanone 3-hydroxylase promoter from chrysanthemum combined with the 5'-untranslated region of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene as a translational enhancer. The flower colors of transgenic lines producing delphinidin-based anthocyanins changed from red-purple to purple/violet hue in the Royal Horticultural Society Colour Charts. This result represents a promising step toward molecular breeding of blue chrysanthemums.