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News 196 views last update:6 Aug 2012

EFSA panel considers nptII plant gene safe

New information provided by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has made EFSA's GMO panel to reconfirm its opinion on the use of the nptII gene as a selectionable marker in GM plants for food or feed.

The nptII gene (neomycin phosphototransferase II) provides resistance to certain antibiotics, such as the aminoglycosides kanamycin, neomycin and geneticin, in plants. The panel previously addressed the issue of whether the antibiotic resistance could be transferred from plants to animals in 2004, finding that there is no scientific evidence that such a transfer would occur.

New assessment

On the basis of evidence - both previously existing and additional - the panel considers that it is "very unlikely" that the presence of the nptII gene in plants would change the existing prevalence of the gene in bacterial sources in the environment and therefore poses no risk to human or animal health or the environment.

EFSA has forwarded its opinion to the EC and EU member states (plus Norward and Sweden). These, it says, "will now be able to take into account EFSA's most recent scientific advice on the nptII gene when considering GMO authorisation issues.

Related website:
EFSA

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(Source: Foodnavigator.com)

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