Points to consider in seeking biosafety approval for research, testing, and environmental release of experimental genetically modified biocontrol products during research and development

W. K. Tonui, V. Ahuja, C. J. Beech, J. B. Connolly, B. Dass, D. C. M. Glandorf, et al.,  Transgenic Research,  2022.

Novel genetically modified biological control products (referred to as “GM biocontrol products”) are being considered to address a range of complex problems in public health, conservation, and agriculture, including preventing the transmission of vector-borne parasitic and viral diseases as well as the spread of invasive plant and animal species. These interventions involve release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment, sometimes with intentional dissemination of the modification within the local population of the targeted species, which presents new challenges and opportunities for regulatory review and decision-making. Practices developed for GMOs, primarily applied to date for GM crops may need to be adapted to accommodate different types of organisms, such as insects, and different technologies, such as gene drive. Developers of new GM biocontrol products would benefit from an early understanding of safety data and information that are likely to be required within the regulatory dossier for regulatory evaluation and decision making. Here a generalizable tool drawing from existing GM crop dossier requirements, forms, and relevant experience is proposed to assist researchers and developers organize and plan their research and trialing. This tool requires considering specifics of each investigational product, their intended use, and country specific requirements at various phases of potential product development, from laboratory research through contained field testing and experimental release into the environment. This may also be helpful to risk assessors and regulators in supporting their systematic and rigorous evaluation of new biocontrol products.

More related to this: