Environ. Biosafety Res.
Volume 7, Number 1, January-March 2008
|35 - 56
|03 April 2008
A screening method for prioritizing non-target invertebrates for improved biosafety testing of transgenic crops
The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited
(HortResearch), Mt Albert, Private Bag 92169, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have developed a screening method that can be used during the problem formulation phase of risk assessment to identify and prioritize non-target invertebrates for risk analysis with any transgenic plant. In previously published protocols for this task, five criteria predominated. These criteria have been combined by our method in a simple model which assesses: (1) the possible level of risk presented by the plant to each invertebrate species (through measurements of potential hazard and exposure, the two principal criteria); (2) the hypothetical environmental impact of this risk (determined by the currently known status of the species' population in the ecosystem and its potential resilience to environmental perturbations); (3) the estimated economic, social and cultural value of each species; and (4) the assessed ability to conduct tests with the species. The screening method uses information on each of these criteria entered into a specially designed database that was developed using Microsoft Access 2003. The database holds biological and ecological information for each non-target species, as well as information about the transgenic plant that is the subject of the risk assessment procedure. Each piece of information is then ranked on the basis of the value of the information to each criterion being measured. This ranking system is flexible, allowing the method to be easily adapted for use in any agro-ecosystem and with any plant modification. A model is then used to produce a Priority Ranking of Non-Target Invertebrates (PRONTI) score for each species, which in turn allows the species to be prioritized for risk assessment. As an example, the method was used to prioritize non-target invertebrates for risk assessment of a hypothetical introduction of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry1Ac-expressing Pinus radiata trees into New Zealand.
Key words: screening method / non-target invertebrates / transgenic crops / ecological risk assessment
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2008