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Target and non-target effects of genetically modified trees

Axelsson, Petter (2011). Target and non-target effects of genetically modified trees. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Umeå : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2011:50
ISBN 978-91-576-7594-1
[Doctoral thesis]

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Uncertainties of realized benefits and the potential for environmental effects of genetically modified (GM) trees may comprise an obstacle for an environmentally safe deployment and social acceptance of such products.
Through a series of studies I explored target and non-target effects of GM trees in an objective to increase our knowledge of both benefits and environmental effects of these products. In these studies I used two Populus hybrid lines, modified for altered lignin synthesis and Bacillus thuringiensis mediated insect resistance against Coleopteran insects. The studies range from bioassays and controlled microcosm studies in the greenhouse to studies using potted plants in the field and studies designed to address environmental effects of leaf litter from GM trees on aquatic ecosystems.
Results show a strong support of realized benefits in terms of resistance effectiveness of the insect resistant trees. Damage levels of relevant herbivorous insects were reduced both in the greenhouse and in the field. However, it is also
indicated that benefits in term of growth may be conditionally determined and depend on environmental context, herbivore loads and interactions with non-target
herbivores. In this respect, unexpected changes in innate resistance as shown here may be of importance for realized benefits. It is further shown how leaf litter from GM trees may cause effects that cross ecosystem boundaries. For example, lignin modification affected leaf litter quality and the decomposition of litter from one lignin modified line was significantly decreased. Further, leaf litter from insect resistant trees did not affect litter quality but did cause significant changes in the community composition of insects colonizing the litter.
Given the signs of environmental control over realized benefits I believe that the field performance of these products needs further confirmation. Studies designed to
target different aspects of environmental variability that may occur throughout the lifetime of a trees may be needed for a proper judgment of realized benefits. In such
assessments effects on non-target organisms and environments need to be considered and the cause of environmental effects explained. Eventually assessments of GM trees need to relate costs and risks of these products to the costs associated with alternative management measures.

Authors/Creators:Axelsson, Petter
Title:Target and non-target effects of genetically modified trees
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :May 2011
Number of Pages:50
IAxelsson E. P., Hjältén J., Whitham T. G., Julkunen-Tiitto R., Pilate G. and Wennström A. Leaf ontogeny interacts with Bt-modifications to affect innate resistance in GM aspens. (Submitted revision).
IIHjältén J., Axelsson E. P., Whitham T. G., LeRoy C. J., Julkunen-Tiitto R., Wennström A., Pilate G. Increased resistance of Bt aspens to Phratora vitellinae (Coleoptera) leads to increased plant growth under experimental conditions. (Manuscript).
IIIAxelsson E. P., Hjältén J., Leroy C. J., Julkunen-Tiitto R., Wennström A. and Pilate G. (2010). Can leaf litter from genetically modified trees affect aquatic ecosystems? Ecosystems 13(7), 1049-1059.
IVAxelsson E. P., Hjältén J., Leroy C. J., Whitham T. G., Julkunen-Tiitto R., Wennström A. Leaf litter from insect-resistant transgenic trees causes changes in aquatic insect community composition (Submitted revision)
VAxelsson E. P., Hjältén J., Leroy C. J. Performance of insect-resistant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-expressing aspens under semi-natural field conditions including natural herbivory in Sweden (Manuscript).
Place of Publication:Umeå
Publisher:Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7594-1
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F40 Plant ecology
H Protection of plants and stored products > H10 Pests of plants
K Forestry > K01 Forestry - General aspects
K Forestry > K10 Forestry production
K Forestry > K70 Forest injuries and protection
M Aquatic sciences and fisheries > M40 Aquatic ecology
P Natural resources > P01 Nature conservation and land resources
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Agrovoc terms:populus, hybrids, genetically modified organisms, trees, bacillus thuringiensis, pest resistance, environmental impact assessment
Keywords:Biotechnology, non-target organism,, NTO, biosafety, GMO, Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, Populus
Permanent URL:
ID Code:8122
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
External funders:FORMAS
Deposited By: Petter Axelsson
Deposited On:10 May 2011 12:25
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:46

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