Comparing agronomic and phenotypic plant characteristics between single and stacked events in soybean, maize, and cotton

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Abstract or Summary

Genetically modified (GM) crops are one of the most valuable tools of modern biotechnology that secure yield potential needed to sustain the global agricultural demands for food, feed, fiber, and energy. Crossing single GM events through conventional breeding has proven to be an effective way to pyramid GM traits from individual events and increase yield protection in the resulting combined products. Even though years of research and commercialization of GM crops show that these organisms are safe and raise no additional biosafety concerns, some regulatory agencies still require risk assessments for these products. We sought out to investigate whether stacking single GM events would have a significant impact on agronomic and phenotypic plant characteristics in soybean, maize, and cotton. Several replicated field trials designed as randomized complete blocks were conducted by Monsanto Regulatory Department from 2008 to 2017 in field sites representative of cultivation regions in Brazil. In total, twenty-one single and stacked GM materials currently approved for in-country commercial use were grown with the corresponding conventional counterparts and commercially available GM/non-GM references. The generated data were presented to the Brazilian regulatory agency CTNBio (National Biosafety Technical Committee) over the years to request regulatory approvals for the single and stacked products, in compliance with the existing normatives. Data was submitted to analysis of variance and differences between GM and control materials were assessed usingĀ t-test with a 5% significance level. Data indicated the predominance of similarities and neglectable differences between single and stacked GM crops when compared to conventional counterpart. Our results support the conclusion that combining GM events through conventional breeding does not alter agronomic or phenotypic plant characteristics in these stacked crops. This is compatible with a growing weight of evidence that indicates this long-adopted strategy does not increase the risks associated with GM materials. It also provides evidence to support the review and modernization of the existing regulatory normatives to no longer require additional risk assessments of GM stacks comprised of previously approved single events for biotechnology-derived crops. The data analyzed confirms that the risk assessment of the individual events is sufficient to demonstrate the safety of the stacked products, which deliver significant benefits to growers and to the environment.


Comparing agronomic and phenotypic plant characteristics between single and stacked events in soybean, maize, and cotton (held on an external server, and so may require additional authentication details)

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