Testbiotech comment on EFSA’s assessment of genetically engineered maize MON87427 x MON89034 x MIR162 x MON87411 and subcombinations from Bayer/Monsanto

TESTBIOTECH Background 8 - 12 - 2019

The EFSA GMO panel assessed the four-stacked maize MON87427 x MON89034 x MIR162 x MON87411, which is derived from crossing genetically engineered maize events (EFSA, 2019f). The parental plants were assessed by EFSA in previous opinions. The maize contains genes conferring doubled resistance to glyphosate and produces three insecticides:
• MON87427 expressing CP4 EPSPS protein for tolerance to glyphosate-containing herbicides;
• MON89034 expressing the insecticidal proteins Cry1A.105 (artificially synthesized) and Cry2Ab2;
• MIR162 expressing the insecticidal protein Vip3Aa20 and phosphomannose isomerase (PMI) which is a selectable marker;
• MON87411 produces an insecticidal dsRNA (DvSnf7 dsRNA) as well as the EPSPS protein for tolerance to glyphosate-containing herbicides. In addition it also produces the insecticidal protein Cry3Bb1 (artificially synthesized).

Consequently, the stacked GE maize has doubled resistance to glyphosate, making it tolerant to high dosages and repeated sprayings as applied in fields with herbicide-resistant weeds. Further, it produces three toxins against the larvae of Lepidoptera (butterflies) that feed on the plants (‘pest insects’) and one toxin (Cry3Bb1) against the larvea of Coleoptera (beetles) that feed below the gound. In addition, it produces an biological active molecule (dsRNA) that can negatively interfere with metabolism in larvae of Coleoptera (beetle). In addition, it produces the PMI protein (phosphomannose isomerase) derived from Escherichia coli. Expression of PMI enables transformed maize cells to utilise mannose and therefore to survive on specific media used for selecting the maize plants after the process of genetic engineering (so called marker gene).

Implementing Regulation 503/2003 has been applied in the risk assessment as performed by EFSA.

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