Biosafety and Ecological Assessment of Genetically Engineered and Edited Crops

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Physiology and Crop Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 July 2022) | Viewed by 41839

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Special Issue Editors

State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Interests: climate change adaptation/mitigation; biodiversity conservation practices, strategy and policy; plant adaptation and evolution; plant genetic diversity; plant–insect interaction; ecological consequences of genetically modified organisms derived from modern biotechnology

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Guest Editor
Department of Plant Sciences, 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Room 252 Ellington Plant Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4561, USA
Interests: biosensors; biotechnology; bioenergy; environmental stress; GFP; phytosensors; plants; promoters; remote sensing; whole organisms; synthetic biology transgenic plants; weedy plants
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal Plants will be publishing a Special Issue on Biosafety and Ecological Assessment of Genetically Engineered and Edited Crops derived from modern biotechnology. Modern biotechnology and synthetic biology enable genome modification of crop plants. While the majority of these engineered plants have one or two transgene additions, gene editing is a major recent approach to improve crops. Synthetic biology of plants is in its early days but has the potential to make significant genome changes. Engineered crops already cover nearly all popular species used for grain, fruit, oil, vegetables, and forestry, across monocots and dicots, and annual and perennial plants. Although the biosafety of engineered crops has been debated for the past three decades among scientific communities, regulators, and the public, controversy is still strong regarding human health and environmental safety. While food safety remains a critical concern for the general public, the ecological consequences may have long-lasting effects on natural/agricultural ecosystems. Increased scientific understanding and strategies are thus needed to cope with any environmental risks caused by or related to the release of engineered crops, especially regarding new emerging technology, such as synthetic biology and gene drives. This Special Issue will cover a wide range of scientific topics, especially biosafety and ecological assessment studies connected to biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

Dr. Wei Wei
Prof. Dr. Charles Neal Stewart, Jr.
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • ecological consequence
  • environmental release
  • gene drives
  • genome editing
  • genetic engineering
  • genetically modified
  • risk assessment
  • synthetic biology

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 432 KiB  
Editorial
Biosafety and Ecological Assessment of Genetically Engineered and Edited Crops
by Wei Wei and Charles Neal Stewart, Jr.
Plants 2023, 12(13), 2551; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12132551 - 5 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Nearly three decades have passed since the first commercial cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops [...] Full article
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

10 pages, 1073 KiB  
Article
Proteomic Analysis of Bt cry1Ac Transgenic Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus L.)
by Zheng-Jun Guan, Min Zheng, Zhi-Xi Tang, Wei Wei and C. Neal Stewart, Jr.
Plants 2023, 12(12), 2319; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12122319 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1028
Abstract
Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is an important cash crop, but transgenic oilseed rape has not been grown on a commercial scale in China. It is necessary to analyze the characteristics of transgenic oilseed rape before commercial cultivation. In our study, differential [...] Read more.
Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is an important cash crop, but transgenic oilseed rape has not been grown on a commercial scale in China. It is necessary to analyze the characteristics of transgenic oilseed rape before commercial cultivation. In our study, differential expression of total protein from the leaves in two transgenic lines of oilseed rape expressing foreign Bt Cry1Ac insecticidal toxin and their non-transgenic parent plant was analyzed using a proteomic approach. Only shared changes in both of the two transgenic lines were calculated. Fourteen differential protein spots were analyzed and identified, namely, eleven upregulated expressed protein spots and three downregulated protein spots. These proteins are involved in photosynthesis, transporter function, metabolism, protein synthesis, and cell growth and differentiation. The changes of these protein spots in transgenic oilseed rape may be attributable to the insertion of the foreign transgenes. However, the transgenic manipulation might not necessarily cause significant change in proteomes of the oilseed rape. Full article
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14 pages, 7010 KiB  
Article
Impact of Insect-Resistant Transgenic Maize 2A-7 on Diversity and Dynamics of Bacterial Communities in Rhizosphere Soil
by Xiaohui Xu, Xin Liu, Fan Li, Chaofeng Hao, Hongwei Sun, Shuke Yang, Yue Jiao and Xingbo Lu
Plants 2023, 12(10), 2046; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12102046 - 21 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Artificial modification of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins can effectively improve their resistance to target pests, but the effect of such modification on the diversity of rhizosphere microorganisms remains unclear. Transgenic maize 2A-7 contains two artificially modified Bt proteins, mCry1Ab and mCry2Ab. These proteins [...] Read more.
Artificial modification of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins can effectively improve their resistance to target pests, but the effect of such modification on the diversity of rhizosphere microorganisms remains unclear. Transgenic maize 2A-7 contains two artificially modified Bt proteins, mCry1Ab and mCry2Ab. These proteins can enter soil and pose a potential threat to soil microbial diversity. To assess their impacts on rhizosphere bacteria communities, the contents of the two Bt proteins and changes in bacterial community diversity in the rhizosphere soils of transgenic maize 2A-7 and its control variety were analyzed at different growth stages in 2020. The results showed that the two Bt proteins were detected at low levels in the rhizosphere soils of 2A-7 plants. No significant differences in soil bacterial diversity were detected between 2A-7 and its control variety at any of the growth stages. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the growth stage, rather than the cultivar, was the main factor causing changes in bacterial communities. This research provides valuable data for understanding the impact of Bt crops on the soil microbiome, and establishes a theoretical basis for evaluation of their safety. Full article
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18 pages, 1876 KiB  
Article
High-Dose Assessment of Transgenic Insect-Resistant Maize Events against Major Lepidopteran Pests in China
by Guoping Li, Tingjie Ji, Shengyuan Zhao, Hongqiang Feng and Kongming Wu
Plants 2022, 11(22), 3125; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11223125 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1927
Abstract
Lepidopteran pests present a key problem for maize production in China. In order to develop a new strategy for the pest control, the Chinese government has issued safety certificates for insect-resistant transgenic maize, but whether these transformation events can achieve high dose levels [...] Read more.
Lepidopteran pests present a key problem for maize production in China. In order to develop a new strategy for the pest control, the Chinese government has issued safety certificates for insect-resistant transgenic maize, but whether these transformation events can achieve high dose levels to major target pests is still unclear. In this paper, the transformation events of DBN9936 (Bt-Cry1Ab), DBN9936 × DBN9501 (Bt-Cry1Ab + Vip3A), Ruifeng 125 (Bt-Cry1Ab/Cry2Aj), and MIR162 (Bt-Vip3A) were planted in the Huang-huai-hai summer corn region of China to evaluate the lethal effects on major lepidopteran pests, Spodoptera frugiperda, Helicoverpa armigera, Ostrinia furnacalis, Conogethes punctiferalis, Mythimna separata, Leucania loreyi, and Athetis lepigone, using an artificial diet containing lyophilized Bt maize tissue at a concentration representing a 25-fold dilution of tissue. The results showed that the corrected mortalities of DBN9936 (Bt-Cry1Ab), DBN9936 × DBN9501 (Bt-Cry1Ab + Vip3A), Ruifeng 125 (Bt-Cry1Ab/Cry2Aj), and MIR162 (Bt-Vip3A) to the seven pests were in the ranges 53.80~100%, 62.98~100%, 57.09~100%, and 41.02~100%, respectively. In summary, the events of DBN9936, DBN9936 × DBN9501, and MIR162 reached high dose levels to S. frugiperda. DBN9936 × DBN9501 only at the R1 stage reached a high dose level to H. armigera. DBN9936, DBN9936 × DBN9501, and Ruifeng 125, at most growth stages, reached high dose levels to O. furnacalis, and these three events at some stages also reached high dose levels to A. lepigone. Ruifeng 125 presented a high dose level only to C. punctiferalis. However, no transformations reached high dose levels to either M. separata or L. loreyi. This study provides a support for the breeding of high-dose varieties to different target pests, the combined application of multiple genes and the commercial regional planting of insect-resistant transgenic maize in China. Full article
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13 pages, 3561 KiB  
Article
Effect of Transgenic Cotton Expressing Bt Cry1Ac or Cry1Ab/Ac Toxins on Lacewing Larvae Mediated by Herbivorous Insect Pests
by Zheng-Jun Guan, Qiu-Ju Zhou, Hong Shi, Zhi-Xi Tang, Biao Liu and Wei Wei
Plants 2022, 11(20), 2755; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11202755 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1608
Abstract
A simple food chain (plant, insect pests, and predatory arthropods) in an agro-ecosystem was set up here as a model system to elucidate the potential effect of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton on non-target organisms. The system included transgenic/non-transgenic cotton, neonate larvae of [...] Read more.
A simple food chain (plant, insect pests, and predatory arthropods) in an agro-ecosystem was set up here as a model system to elucidate the potential effect of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton on non-target organisms. The system included transgenic/non-transgenic cotton, neonate larvae of three herbivorous insects (Spodoptera exigua, Helicoverpa armigera, and S. litura), and predatory lacewing larvae (Chrysopa spp.), which represent the first, second, and third trophic levels, respectively. The results showed that transgenic treatments and different densities of prey had significant effects on both body-weight gain of neonate herbivorous larvae and the number of prey captured by lacewing larvae, respectively. It was found that Bt toxin could persist at the third trophic level in lacewing larvae. The diet mixture bioassay showed that body-weight gain of lacewing larvae was significantly affected by various treatments, especially at lower concentrations of plant-expressed Bt toxin in the diet mixture, which caused significant decreases in body-weight gain. In contrast, synthetic Bt toxin at higher concentrations in the diet did not show this effect. Thus, we inferred that Bt toxin indirectly affected the growth of the lacewings and the lacewings may not be susceptible to Bt toxin or are able to metabolize it. Full article
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16 pages, 1426 KiB  
Article
Impact of Transgenic Cry1Ab/2Aj Maize on Abundance of Non-Target Arthropods in the Field
by Yan Yang, Yi Chen, Jiabao Xue, Yuanyuan Wang, Xinyuan Song and Yunhe Li
Plants 2022, 11(19), 2520; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11192520 - 26 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1833
Abstract
Transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize has broad prospects for application in China. Before commercialization, it is necessary to assess possible ecological impacts, including impacts on non-target arthropods (NTAs) in the field. In the present study, transgenic Bt maize expressing cry1Ab/2Aj and [...] Read more.
Transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize has broad prospects for application in China. Before commercialization, it is necessary to assess possible ecological impacts, including impacts on non-target arthropods (NTAs) in the field. In the present study, transgenic Bt maize expressing cry1Ab/2Aj and its corresponding non-transformed near isoline were planted under the same environmental and agricultural conditions, and arthropods in the field were collected during the three main growth stages of maize. In a one year trial, the results showed the composition of NTA communities in the transgenic and control maize fields were similar. There were no significant differences for community-level parameters of species richness (S), Shannon–Wiener diversity index (H′), evenness index (J) and Simpson’s dominant concentration (C) between the two types of maize fields. Likewise, a Bray–Curtis dissimilarity and distance analysis showed that Cry1Ab/2Aj toxin exposure did not increase community dissimilarities between Bt and non-Bt maize plots and that the structure of the NTAs community was similar on the two maize varieties. Furthermore, planting of the transgenic cry1Ab/2Aj maize did not affect the density or composition of non-target decomposers, herbivores, predators, parasitoids and pollinator guilds. In summary, our results showed that planting of Bt maize producing Cry1Ab/Cry2Aj proteins do not adversely affect population dynamics and diversity of NTAs. Full article
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12 pages, 3265 KiB  
Article
Transgenic Maize Has Insignificant Effects on the Diversity of Arthropods: A 3-Year Study
by Zhentao Ren, Muzhi Yang, Haopeng He, Yanjie Ma, Yijun Zhou, Biao Liu and Kun Xue
Plants 2022, 11(17), 2254; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172254 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2120
Abstract
In order to provide more evidence for the evaluation of the ecological risks of transgenic maize, arthropod population dynamics and biodiversity in fields planted with two kinds of transgenic maize (DBN9868, expressing the PAT and EPSPS genes, and DBN9936, expressing the Cry1Ab and [...] Read more.
In order to provide more evidence for the evaluation of the ecological risks of transgenic maize, arthropod population dynamics and biodiversity in fields planted with two kinds of transgenic maize (DBN9868, expressing the PAT and EPSPS genes, and DBN9936, expressing the Cry1Ab and EPSPS gene) were investigated by direct observation and trapping for three years. The recorded arthropod species belonged to 19 orders and 87 families, including Aphidoidea, Chrysomelidae, Coccinellidae, Chrysopidae and Araneae. The species richness, Shannon–Wiener diversity index, Pielou evenness index, dominance index and community similarity index of arthropod communities in maize fields were statistically analyzed, and the results showed that (1) the biodiversity difference of arthropod communities between transgenic maize and non-transgenic maize was smaller than that between different conventional cultivars; (2) the differences between ground-dwelling arthropod communities were less obvious than those between plant-inhabiting arthropod communities; and (3) Lepidoptera, the target pests of Bt maize, were not the dominant population in maize fields, and the dominant arthropod population in maize fields varied greatly between years and months. Combining those results, we concluded that the transgenic maize DBN9868 and DBN9936 had no significant effect on the arthropod communities in the field. Full article
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12 pages, 2079 KiB  
Article
Effects of Insect-Resistant Maize 2A-7 Expressing mCry1Ab and mCry2Ab on the Soil Ecosystem
by Shuke Yang, Xin Liu, Xiaohui Xu, Hongwei Sun, Fan Li, Chaofeng Hao and Xingbo Lu
Plants 2022, 11(17), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172218 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
Transgenic maize 2A-7 expressing mCry1Ab and mCry2Ab has excellent resistance to lepidopteran pests. Previous studies have investigated the effects of several Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins on the soil. However, the effects of artificially modified Bt proteins on soil ecosystems are still unclear. To [...] Read more.
Transgenic maize 2A-7 expressing mCry1Ab and mCry2Ab has excellent resistance to lepidopteran pests. Previous studies have investigated the effects of several Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins on the soil. However, the effects of artificially modified Bt proteins on soil ecosystems are still unclear. To evaluate the effects of transgenic maize 2A-7 on soil, the physicochemical properties, enzyme activities and functional diversities of the microbial communities in rhizosphere soils from 2A-7 and its near-isogenic non-transgenic control Dongdan 6531 were analyzed at different developmental stages under field conditions. The alteration of six physicochemical properties (pH, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, organic matter, available phosphorus and alkali-hydrolyzed nitrogen) and six functional enzymes (catalase, alkaline phosphatase, sucrase, acid phosphatase, urease and alkaline protease) activities in the rhizosphere soils between the two maize cultivars were drastically correlated with plant growth stage, but not affected by the artificially modified Bt transgenes. An analysis of time-course Biolog data revealed that the functional diversity of microbial communities in the rhizosphere soil of 2A-7 and its control were similar at each developmental stage. The results suggest that transgenic maize 2A-7 has no significant impact on the soil ecosystem and provide valuable information on scientific safety assessments of 2A-7 and its commercial applications. Full article
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13 pages, 1529 KiB  
Article
Effects of Exogenous Salicylic Acid Application to Aboveground Part on the Defense Responses in Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Non-Bt Corn (Zea mays L.) Seedlings
by Yuanjiao Feng, Xiaoyi Wang, Tiantian Du, Yinghua Shu, Fengxiao Tan and Jianwu Wang
Plants 2022, 11(16), 2162; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11162162 - 20 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn is one of the top three large-scale commercialized anti-insect transgenic crops around the world. In the present study, we tested the Bt protein content, defense chemicals contents, and defense enzyme activities in both the leaves and roots [...] Read more.
Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn is one of the top three large-scale commercialized anti-insect transgenic crops around the world. In the present study, we tested the Bt protein content, defense chemicals contents, and defense enzyme activities in both the leaves and roots of Bt corn varieties 5422Bt1 and 5422CBCL, as well as their conventional corn 5422 seedlings, with two fully expanded leaves which had been treated with 2.5 mM exogenous salicylic acid (SA) to the aboveground part for 24 h. The result showed that the SA treatment to the aboveground part could significantly increase the polyphenol oxidase activity of conventional corn 5422, the Bt protein content, and peroxidase activities of Bt corn 5422Bt1, as well as the polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase activity of Bt corn 5422CBCL in the leaves. In the roots, the polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase activity of conventional corn 5422, the polyphenol oxidase and superoxide dismutase activities of Bt corn 5422Bt1, the DIMBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2H, 1, 4-benzoxazin-3 (4H)-one) content, and four defense enzymes activities of Bt corn 5422CBCL were systematically increased. These findings suggest that the direct effect of SA application to aboveground part on the leaf defense responses in Bt corn 5422CBCL is stronger than that in non-Bt corn. Meanwhile, the systemic effect of SA on the root defense responses in Bt corn 5422CBCL is stronger than that in conventional corn 5422 and Bt corn 5422Bt1. It can be concluded that the Bt gene introduction and endogenous chemical defense responses of corns act synergistically during the SA-induced defense processes to the aboveground part. Different transformation events affected the root defense response when the SA treatment was applied to the aboveground part. Full article
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12 pages, 2692 KiB  
Article
Subchronic Toxicity of GmDREB3 Gene Modified Wheat in the Third Generation Wistar Rats
by Jie Tian, Xiang-Hong Ke, Yuan Yuan, Wen-Xiang Yang, Xiao-Qiao Tang, Lan-Jie Pei, Jun Fan, Qin Zhuo, Xiao-Guang Yang, Jia-Fa Liu and Bo-Lin Fan
Plants 2022, 11(14), 1823; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11141823 - 12 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the subchronic toxicity of GmDREB3 gene modified wheat in the third generation rats. SPF Wistar rats were fed with transgenic wheat diet (Gm), parental wheat diet (Jimai22) and AIN-93 rodent diet (Control), respectively, for [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the subchronic toxicity of GmDREB3 gene modified wheat in the third generation rats. SPF Wistar rats were fed with transgenic wheat diet (Gm), parental wheat diet (Jimai22) and AIN-93 rodent diet (Control), respectively, for two generations, to produce the third generation rats which were used for this study. The selected fresh weaned offspring rats (20/sex/group) were given the same diet as their parents for 13 weeks. No toxicity-related changes were observed in rats fed with Gm diet in the following respects: clinical signs, body weights, body weight gains, food consumption, food utilization rate, urinalysis, hematology, serum biochemistry and histopathology. The results from the present study demonstrated that 13 weeks consumption of Gm wheat did not cause any adverse effects in the third generation rats when compared with the corresponding Jimai22 wheat. Full article
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17 pages, 1863 KiB  
Article
Cry3Aa Toxin Is Not Suitable to Control Lepidopteran Pest Spodoptera littoralis (Boisd.)
by Oxana Skoková Habuštová, Zdeňka Svobodová, Dalibor Kodrík and František Sehnal
Plants 2022, 11(10), 1312; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11101312 - 15 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1859
Abstract
The toxicity of the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry3Aa—originally used against the main potato pest, the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata—was verified on this species and then evaluated against the Egyptian armyworm, Spodoptera littoralis, which is a pest of several economically [...] Read more.
The toxicity of the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry3Aa—originally used against the main potato pest, the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata—was verified on this species and then evaluated against the Egyptian armyworm, Spodoptera littoralis, which is a pest of several economically important plants. Larvae of S. littoralis were fed a semi-artificial diet supplemented either with a recombinant or with a natural Bt toxin Cry3Aa and with the genetically engineered (GE) potato of variety Superior NewLeaf (SNL) expressing Cry3Aa. Cry3Aa concentration in the diet and the content in the leaves were verified via ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) during and at the end of the experiments. The biological effectiveness of the coleopteran-specific Cry3Aa with previous reports of activity against S. littoralis was tested on five different populations of S. littoralis larvae by monitoring 13 parameters involving development from penultimate instar, weight, the efficiency of food conversion to biomass, ability to reproduce, and mortality. Although some occasional differences occurred between the Cry3Aa treatments and control, any key deleterious effects on S. littoralis in this study were not confirmed. We concluded that the Cry3Aa toxin appears to be non-toxic to S. littoralis, and its practical application against this pest is unsuitable. Full article
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15 pages, 3490 KiB  
Article
Negligible Impact of Drought-Resistant Genetically Modified Maize on Arthropod Community Structure Observed in a 2-Year Field Investigation
by Jun-Qi Yin, Da-Ming Wang, Jin-Gang Liang and Xin-Yuan Song
Plants 2022, 11(8), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11081092 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2136
Abstract
Dehydration-responsive element-binding (DREB) transcription factors regulate diverse processes during plant development. Here, a 2-year field study was conducted to assess the potential effects of DREB-genetically modified maize (GM1) on arthropod species and ecological communities. Arthropod abundance, diversity, and community composition in GM1 and [...] Read more.
Dehydration-responsive element-binding (DREB) transcription factors regulate diverse processes during plant development. Here, a 2-year field study was conducted to assess the potential effects of DREB-genetically modified maize (GM1) on arthropod species and ecological communities. Arthropod abundance, diversity, and community composition in GM1 and its non-transformed counterpart maize variety, Chang 7-2, were compared using whole plant inspection, pitfall trap, and suction sampler methods. Based on Shannon–Wiener diversity, Simpson’s diversity, Pielou’s indexes, number of species, and total number of individuals, GM1 had a negligible effect on arthropod abundance and diversity. Redundancy analysis indicated that the composition of arthropod community was not associated with maize type in the three investigation methods, while it exhibited significant correlation with year and sampling time in whole plant inspection and suction sample methods, and distinctly correlated with sampling time in the pitfall trap method. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis of variable factors in the three investigation methods showed that sampling time, rather than maize type or year, was closely related to the composition of arthropod community in the field. Our results provide direct evidence to support that DREB-GM maize had negligible effects on arthropods in the Jilin Province under natural conditions. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

16 pages, 1580 KiB  
Review
Transgene Bioconfinement: Don’t Flow There
by Jessica N. Stockdale and Reginald J. Millwood
Plants 2023, 12(5), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12051099 - 1 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2356
Abstract
The adoption of genetically engineered (GE) crops has led to economic and environmental benefits. However, there are regulatory and environmental concerns regarding the potential movement of transgenes beyond cultivation. These concerns are greater for GE crops with high outcrossing frequencies to sexually compatible [...] Read more.
The adoption of genetically engineered (GE) crops has led to economic and environmental benefits. However, there are regulatory and environmental concerns regarding the potential movement of transgenes beyond cultivation. These concerns are greater for GE crops with high outcrossing frequencies to sexually compatible wild relatives and those grown in their native region. Newer GE crops may also confer traits that enhance fitness, and introgression of these traits could negatively impact natural populations. Transgene flow could be lessened or prevented altogether through the addition of a bioconfinement system during transgenic plant production. Several bioconfinement approaches have been designed and tested and a few show promise for transgene flow prevention. However, no system has been widely adopted despite nearly three decades of GE crop cultivation. Nonetheless, it may be necessary to implement a bioconfinement system in new GE crops or in those where the potential of transgene flow is high. Here, we survey such systems that focus on male and seed sterility, transgene excision, delayed flowering, as well as the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 to reduce or eliminate transgene flow. We discuss system utility and efficacy, as well as necessary features for commercial adoption. Full article
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36 pages, 3608 KiB  
Review
Enabling Trade in Gene-Edited Produce in Asia and Australasia: The Developing Regulatory Landscape and Future Perspectives
by Michael G. K. Jones, John Fosu-Nyarko, Sadia Iqbal, Muhammad Adeel, Rhodora Romero-Aldemita, Mahaletchumy Arujanan, Mieko Kasai, Xun Wei, Bambang Prasetya, Satya Nugroho, Osman Mewett, Shahid Mansoor, Muhammad J. A. Awan, Reynante L. Ordonio, S. R. Rao, Abhijit Poddar, Penny Hundleby, Nipon Iamsupasit and Kay Khoo
Plants 2022, 11(19), 2538; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11192538 - 27 Sep 2022
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 7416
Abstract
Genome- or gene-editing (abbreviated here as ‘GEd’) presents great opportunities for crop improvement. This is especially so for the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to more than half of the world’s growing population. A brief description of the science of [...] Read more.
Genome- or gene-editing (abbreviated here as ‘GEd’) presents great opportunities for crop improvement. This is especially so for the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to more than half of the world’s growing population. A brief description of the science of gene-editing is provided with examples of GEd products. For the benefits of GEd technologies to be realized, international policy and regulatory environments must be clarified, otherwise non-tariff trade barriers will result. The status of regulations that relate to GEd crop products in Asian countries and Australasia are described, together with relevant definitions and responsible regulatory bodies. The regulatory landscape is changing rapidly: in some countries, the regulations are clear, in others they are developing, and some countries have yet to develop appropriate policies. There is clearly a need for the harmonization or alignment of GEd regulations in the region: this will promote the path-to-market and enable the benefits of GEd technologies to reach the end-users. Full article
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22 pages, 756 KiB  
Review
Assessing Impacts of Transgenic Plants on Soil Using Functional Indicators: Twenty Years of Research and Perspectives
by Vadim Lebedev, Tatyana Lebedeva, Elena Tikhonova and Konstantin Shestibratov
Plants 2022, 11(18), 2439; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11182439 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4012
Abstract
Assessment of the effects of transgenic plants on microbiota and soil fertility is an important part of the overall assessment of their biosafety. However, the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants has long been focused on the aboveground effects. In this review, [...] Read more.
Assessment of the effects of transgenic plants on microbiota and soil fertility is an important part of the overall assessment of their biosafety. However, the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants has long been focused on the aboveground effects. In this review, we discuss the results of two decades of research on the impact of transgenic plants on the physicochemical properties of soil, its enzyme activities and microbial biomass. These indicators allow us to assess both the short-term effects and long-term effects of cultivating transgenic plants. Most studies have shown that the effect of transgenic plants on the soil is temporary and inconsistent. Moreover, many other factors, such as the site location, weather conditions, varietal differences and management system, have a greater impact on soil quality than the transgenic status of the plants. In addition to the effects of transgenic crop cultivation, the review also considers the effects of transgenic plant residues on soil processes, and discusses the future prospects for studying the impact of genetically modified plants on soil ecosystems. Full article
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18 pages, 761 KiB  
Review
Environmental Behaviors of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Insecticidal Proteins and Their Effects on Microbial Ecology
by Yujie Li, Cui Wang, Lei Ge, Cong Hu, Guogan Wu, Yu Sun, Lili Song, Xiao Wu, Aihu Pan, Qinqing Xu, Jialiang Shi, Jingang Liang and Peng Li
Plants 2022, 11(9), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11091212 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 7272
Abstract
Bt proteins are crystal proteins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in the early stage of spore formation that exhibit highly specific insecticidal activities. The application of Bt proteins primarily includes Bt transgenic plants and Bt biopesticides. Transgenic crops with insect resistance [...] Read more.
Bt proteins are crystal proteins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in the early stage of spore formation that exhibit highly specific insecticidal activities. The application of Bt proteins primarily includes Bt transgenic plants and Bt biopesticides. Transgenic crops with insect resistance (via Bt)/herbicide tolerance comprise the largest global area of agricultural planting. After artificial modification, Bt insecticidal proteins expressed from Bt can be released into soils through root exudates, pollen, and plant residues. In addition, the construction of Bt recombinant engineered strains through genetic engineering has become a major focus of Bt biopesticides, and the expressed Bt proteins will also remain in soil environments. Bt proteins expressed and released by Bt transgenic plants and Bt recombinant strains are structurally and functionally quite different from Bt prototoxins naturally expressed by B. thuringiensis in soils. The former can thus be regarded as an environmentally exogenous substance with insecticidal toxicity that may have potential ecological risks. Consequently, biosafety evaluations must be conducted before field tests and production of Bt plants or recombinant strains. This review summarizes the adsorption, retention, and degradation behavior of Bt insecticidal proteins in soils, in addition to their impacts on soil physical and chemical properties along with soil microbial diversity. The review provides a scientific framework for evaluating the environmental biosafety of Bt transgenic plants, Bt transgenic microorganisms, and their expression products. In addition, prospective research targets, research methods, and evaluation methods are highlighted based on current research of Bt proteins. Full article
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