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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-BASED MANAGEMENT OF INSECT PESTS OF CORN, WITH EMPHASIS ON CORN BORERS, ROOTWORMS, AND CUTWORMS

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Deriving criteria to select arthropod species for laboratory tests to assess the ecological risks from cultivating transgenic crops

Authors
item Romeis, Jorg -
item Raybould, Alan -
item Bigler, Franz -
item Candolfi, Marco -
item Hellmich, Richard
item Huesing, Joseph -
item Shelton, Anthony -

Submitted to: Chemosphere
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2012
Publication Date: October 10, 2012
Citation: Romeis, J., Raybould, A., Bigler, F., Candolfi, M., Hellmich II, R.L., Huesing, J.E., Shelton, A. 2012. Deriving criteria to select arthropod species for laboratory tests to assess the ecological risks from cultivating transgenic crops. Chemosphere. 90(3):901-909.

Interpretive Summary: Many arthropod species are valued because they provide ecosystem services including biological control, pollination, and decomposition, or because they are valued for cultural or economic reasons. At the same time, other arthropods are considered crop pests and sometimes require control with chemical pesticides, biological control agents or, more recently, genetically engineered (GE) crops. A common concern addressed in the ecological risk assessment of pest control methods is their potential to adversely affect non-target arthropods. A key concept of risk assessment is using worst-case exposure conditions in the laboratory. Testing species that are most likely to reveal an adverse effect increases confidence in the assessment. An approach is proposed in this paper for selecting test species for early-laboratory environmental risk assessment of genetically-engineered crops. Species and life-stages should be selected that represent valued non-target arthropods and ecosystem services, are most likely to be sensitive to the arthropod-active compound in the GE plant, and are suitable for testing under laboratory conditions. Our proposed approach focuses on testing relevant surrogate species in order to increase the quality and efficiency of environmental risk assessments for cultivation of genetically-engineered crops. This information is useful to scientists and regulators interested in evaluating potential ecological risks of genetically-engineered crops and ultimately should decrease the time needed to bring new genetically-engineered crops to growers.

Technical Abstract: Arthropods form a major part of the biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Many species are valued because they provide ecosystem services, including biological control, pollination, and decomposition, or because they are valued for cultural or economic reasons. Some arthropods reduce crop yield and quality, and conventional chemical pesticides, biological control agents, and genetically engineered (GE) crops are used to control them. A common concern addressed in the ecological risk assessment (ERA) that precedes regulatory approval of these pest control methods is their potential to adversely affect valued non-target arthropods (NTAs). A key concept of ERA is early-tier testing using worst-case exposure conditions in the laboratory. Testing species that are most likely to reveal an adverse effect increases confidence in the ERA. From experience with chemical pesticides and biological control agents, an approach is proposed for selecting test species for early-tier ERA of GE crops. Species and life-stages should be selected that represent valued NTAs and ecosystem services, are most likely to be sensitive to the arthropod-active compound in the GE plant, and that are suitable for testing under laboratory conditions. Our proposed approach focuses on testing relevant surrogate species in order to increase the quality and efficiency of ERAs for cultivation of GE crops.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014
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