National research projects

Dutch research on co-existence and traceability

There have been some studies related to co-existence in the Netherlands in the past. Currently,  there is one field trial on co-existence, which is conducted by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture.

A co-existence trial between GM and conventional crops was conducted in 2006 and 2007 by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality at six locations in the Netherlands. Tests were conducted with MON810 Bt maize, and had the goal of strengthening the scientific base of isolation distances for maize as agreed by the covenant parties of the co-existence primary sector.

The results from 2006 and 2007 show that hardly any admixing occurs between GM and conventional maize when farmers observe the agreed isolation distances between the different parcels. The agreed isolation distances make sure that admixing due to pollen-mediated gene flow in maize stays far below the EU-agreed 0.9% accidental GMO threshold.

Furthermore, there are several research projects on DNA detection methods of GMOs. COGEM has published a monitoring report on co-existence in agriculture in 2004. In 2003, the organisation looked at the hybridisation and the introgression between crops and wild relatives.

An exploration of scientific literature on the application of genetic markers for the detection of gene flow between crops and wild relatives is available at the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment. To assess the environmental safety of transgenes in GM crops, this document also covers the use of gene function knowledge from Arabidopsis.

Plant Research International is investigating coexistence in relation to crop rotation. Crops are mostly grown in a rotation system. In view of the high rotation rate of root crops, e.g. potato and sugar beet, scientific insight is needed in effects on soil life and on subsequent crops. This project is a literature update, with the objectives to:

  • Update existing studies for recent literature regarding admixture in a crop rotation, and possible effects on subsequent crops and soil life
  • Review of recent literature and interviews of scientists

The project runs until the end of 2010.

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