Employing a composite gene-flow index to numerically quantify a crop’s potential for gene flow: an Irish perspective
Teagasc Crops Research Centre, Oakpark, Carlow, Co. Carlow, Ireland
2 Gene-flow Laboratory, Institute of Bioengineering and Agroecology, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidelines to ensure the efficient coexistence of genetically modified (GM) and conventional crops are currently being considered across the European Union. The purpose of this strategy is to describe the measures a farmer must adopt to minimize the admixture of GM and non-GM crops. Minimizing pollen / seed-mediated gene flow between GM and non-GM crops is central to successful coexistence. However no system is currently available to permit the numeric quantification of a crop’s propensity for pollen/seed-mediated gene flow. The provision of such a system could permit a background level of gene flow, specific for a particular conventional crop, to be calculated. Here we present a gene flow index model implemented using the principal arable crops in Ireland as a model dataset. The objective of this research was to establish a baseline gene flow data set for Ireland’s primary conventional crops through the provision of a simple numerical index. This Gene Flow Index (GFI) incorporates four strands of crop-mediated gene flow (crop pollen-to-crop, crop pollen-to-wild, crop seed-to-volunteer and crop seed-to-feral) into a format that permits the calculation of a crop’s gene flow potential. Responsive to regional parameters, we have applied the model to sugar beet, oilseed rape, potato, ryegrass, maize, wheat and barley. We propose that the attained indices will highlight those crops that require additional measures in order to minimize gene flow in accordance with anticipated coexistence guidelines.
Key words: gene flow / GM / genetically modified / Ireland / risk assessment / gene flow index / coexistence / transgenic
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2005