Embrapa’s Software on safety evaluation and impacts of genetically modified plants is available at Web

By Cristina Tordin
Embrapa Environment The first initiative to create a most robust and grounded methodology for assessing the safety and integrated impacts of genetically modified plants is authored by Brazilian’s researchers and culminated in the preparation of the Methodology of evaluation and Software “Evaluation System PGM” or AS-GMP (Assessment System for Genetically Modified Plants) available on the site of Embrapa Environment (Click here to access).
This method authored by Katia Regina Evaristo de Jesus, a researcher at Embrapa Environment (Jaguariúna, SP) and colleagues, was published in the journal Environmental Impact Review, and aims at providing a pioneer methodology for security analysis and impact of genetically modified plants (GM). “In order to facilitate the application of this methodology is presented to analyze safety criteria and indicators of general and technical impacts of GM plants,” explains the researcher.
“Despite the importance and concern attributed to the effects arising from the application of transgenic crops in the field, the methodology of evaluation – software PGM or AS-GMP is the first proposal with a view to carry out the integrated evaluation of safety and the impacts of GM”, he says.
This method relies on a support tool, the Software AS-GMP. This consists an electronic format for the layout of spreadsheets, in which the indicators or criteria for evaluation are presented and can be accessed at the site of Embrapa Environment ((Click here to access).
The evaluation is performed by means of indicators organized in overall dimensions, including: environmental, economic, social and the institutional approach. For a complete evaluation is necessary to analyze the technical indicators relating to the genetic modification: insertion of the gene, plant characteristics, gene flow, food issues, introduction of the PGM, unexpected occurrences, among others.
The software is organized in three tools: spreadsheets for the ‘Security Analysis’, through the index of significance, worksheets of the impact indicators, calculated through the Index of Magnitude. Finally, the combination of the two indices (Significance x Magnitude) is presented in the impact Matrix, which is presented the General Impact Value. The AS-GMP works as a guide that points out the indicators to be examined and the components that may have any importance in the evaluation, thus the method contributes to reduce the subjectivity of the analysis.
“The organization of this information into the web software allows the results of laboratory tests or field to be annexed to justify the weights assigned to each indicator or criteria evaluated. Other advantage is the possibility of defining different accesses to researchers who are part of the evaluation, management or regulatory agents. The results are presented in a illustrate model, in the shape of charts, tables, matrices, in order to facilitate the proposal of corrective measures to improve safety or mitigation of the negative impacts, “emphasizes Katya.
 

Source: Embrapa Environment, December 28th, 2011
Click here to read the complete version of this article in Portuguese
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Translated by Gilberto Silber Schmidt
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