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Risk Assessment
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2012-10-18 14:48 UTC (hana_jirakova@env.cz)
Date of last update
2012-10-24 20:29 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2012-10-24 20:29 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)

General Information
  • Czech Republic
Title of risk assessment
Decision on a small-scaled field trial with GM flax
Date of the risk assessment
Competent National Authority(ies) responsible for the risk assessment
Ministry of the Environment
Vrsovicka 65
Czech Republic, 10010
Phone:+420 267 122 066
Fax:+420 267 310 013
Url:Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic
Risk assessment details
Living modified organism
Flax modified for tolerance to fungal diseases and/or insect pests
Agritec Plant Research Resistance to antibiotics - Kanamycin Resistance to diseases and pests - Bacteria, Fungi
Flax modified for herbicide tolerance
Agritec Plant Research Resistance to antibiotics - Kanamycin Resistance to herbicides - Glufosinate
Flax modified for insertional mutagenesis
Agritec Plant Research Resistance to antibiotics - Hygromycin Selectable marker genes and reporter genes
Flax modified for improved ability to bind heavy metals
Agritec Plant Research Resistance to antibiotics - Kanamycin Use in industrial applications - Bioremediation
Flax modified for improved ability to bind heavy metals
Agritec Plant Research Resistance to antibiotics - Kanamycin Use in industrial applications - Bioremediation
Scope of the risk assessment
  • LMOs for Introduction into the environment
    • Field trial
Risk assessment report / Summary
Methodology and points to consider
Estimation of the overall risk
Analysis of the characteristics of transgenic flax lines has shown that the risk for potential adverse effects on human and animal health and the receiving environment, resulting from the planned field trials with GM flax and linseed lines, is consistently negligible:
Cultivation of flax depends to a great deal on human care because its competetivness is very low. Current flax and linseed cultivars are not able to withstand winter under condition of mid Europe both on field areas and in natural environments either as seeds of plants. Under cold and wet conditions flax plants are immediately attacked by numerous fungal and bacterial pathogenes and crop has to be chemically protected against harm. Flax propagates using the seed exclusively.
The risk of the introduced traits in flax to be the cause of any competitive advantage or disadvantage in natural environments is also negligible. Like for any other conventional flax, the likelihood of these GM flax and linseed lines to spread into non-agronomic environments is negligible. Moreover, there is no potential for gene transfer from GM flax to any wild plant species. There is a limited number of wild flax species common in Europe, which are sexually compatible to cultivated flax but their natural habitats in CZ do not correspond to areas of flax cultivation. Even our attempts to obtain hybrids through artificial crossings with L. flavum were unsuccessful (Tejklová 2005).
GM flax lines pose negligible risk for adverse environmental effects through their interactions with target organisms. The ecological interactions of GM lines derived from insertion mutagenesis were not different from traditional flax. Based on target genes characteristics the same is expected for other modified lines.
The distance from the nearest cultivation of unmodified flax will be at least 300 m. At least 3 m-wide separating distance of other crops will be kept to decrease dissemination of seeds and to monitor effects of GM organism on field flora and fauna closed to experimental plots too. Sowing and harvesting machinery will be cleaned on site to prevent the dispersal of GM seed. Harvested material and seed will be transported from the site in closed and labelled containers to the laboratories for analyses. Remaining seed which will not be used in following seasons will be inactivated as well as vegetative plant material. The area will be controlled for volunteers for a period of 1 consecutive year. During the next 6 years time there will be no conventional flax cultivation, which equals conventional crop rotation practice. Volunteers will be treated using conventional agricultural practices. During the release the project leader and trained personnel will monitor the trial site at defined intervals.
Receiving environment(s) considered
Czech Republic, Olomoucky Region
Additional Information