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Do you think it would be possible to grow GM crops in a large scale contained environment?. This way, it would prevent GM crops from unintentionally spreading out of GM cultures and thus lower the risk of causing important modification to the environment. Now, Im not talking about growing them in a lab, but rather in a large enclosedsemi enclosed area, like a large greenhouse for instance.

Submitted by: Simon


Expert response from Dr. L. Curtis Hannah

Professor, University of Florida

Thursday, 18/12/2014 22:46

First, thank you for an interesting question. The simple answer to your question is yes. Let me amplify though on some of the points to which I think you are alluding. First, growth of any experimental transgenic plant material in an outside environment is not a decision investigators can make by themselves. Outside growth requires that a permit be issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This agency examines the gene inserted and its probable function and then makes a decision of whether the material can be grown outside of the laboratory or greenhouse. If so, the material must be grown a minimum distance from any sexually compatible plants to minimize the chance of cross pollination. Equipment for planting, spraying and harvesting must be thoroughly cleaned after use in these fields to avoid spread of transgenic seed. Once a transgenic event is “deregulated”, these restrictions on growth are relaxed. It should be noted that the “deregulation” process involves the generation of massive data sets that are submitted to USDA, EPA and/or the FDA. Possible effects on the environment are weighed heavily by these agencies, especially the EPA. It requires millions of dollars to generate the data required by these agencies. Only a tiny tiny fraction of all plant transgenic events are deregulated.


Moderator Note: You might also be interested in this blog post about coexistence between GM and non-GM crops.