An overview of general features of risk assessments of genetically modified crops
Biomedical and Life Sciences
The intentional introduction into the environment or market of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is nearly always governed by a framework of science-based risk assessment and risk management measures. This is usually implemented through the integration of hazard identification and characterisation of all of the elements of risk associated with a new GM crop or derived product. Typical categories of hazards arising from the introduction of transgenic crops include: possible unintended negative health effects in a susceptible subgroup of the consumer (target) population; the evolution of resistance in the targeted pest/pathogen populations when the transgene confers resistance to a pest or pathogen; non-target hazards associated directly or indirectly with the transgenic plant or transgene product outside the plant; and those associated with the integration and subsequent expression of the transgene in a different organism or species following gene flow. The consequences of likely exposure to these and other hazards are considered in this introduction to the main issues raised when evaluating the possible risks arising from the importation or cultivation of genetically modified crops.