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Updated empirical model of genetically-modified maize grain production practices to achieve European Union labeling thresholds

Crop Science Society of America
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An updated empirical approach is proposed for specifying coexistence requirements for genetically modified (GM) maize (Zea mays L.) production to ensure compliance with the 0.9% labeling threshold for food and feed in the European Union. The model improves on a previously published (Gustafson et al., 2006) empirical model by adding recent data sources to supplement the original database and including the following additional cases: (i) more than one GM maize source field adjacent to the conventional or organic field, (ii) the possibility of so-called “stacked” varieties with more than one GM trait, and (iii) lower pollen shed in the non-GM receptor field. These additional factors lead to the possibility for somewhat wider combinations of isolation distance and border rows than required in the original version of the empirical model. For instance, in the very conservative case of a 1-ha square non-GM maize field surrounded on all four sides by homozygous GM maize with 12 m isolation (the effective isolation distance for a single GM field), non-GM border rows of 12 m are required to be 95% confident of gene flow less than 0.9% in the non-GM field (with adventitious presence of 0.3%). Stacked traits of higher GM mass fraction and receptor fields of lower pollen shed would require a greater number of border rows to comply with the 0.9% threshold, and an updated extension to the model is provided to quantify these effects.

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