The 8th issue of the open access Biorisk journal is devoted to the topic of development and standardization of monitoring of genetically modified plants (GMP). The new issue, compiled by professionals under the umbrella of the Association of German Engineers (VDI), provides up-to-date research on the issue of developing VDI guidelines for GMP monitoring; now also capturing new faunal species groups as indicators.
Each application for approval of GM plants must contain a tailored monitoring plan. However, in Germany current experience with the cultivation of insect-resistant maize (MON810) and starch-modified potatoes (Amflora) shows that – from a conservation point of view – past monitoring plans are not suitable to detect relevant environmental effects.
Professional experts have now suggested a wide range of guidelines for GMP monitoring, among others collecting faunal species data for GMP impact monitoring, also broadly applicable for general biodiversity assessments in agricultural landscapes. The current issue contains articles from professionals in the field suggesting the introduction and implementation of VDI guidelines of faunal species, like butterflies, amphibians, soil organisms and wild bees.
The creation and adoption of VDI guidelines follows a strict procedure and the professionals involved in their production are strictly volunteers. In the European guidelines for GMP monitoring the use of such standardized methods is strongly recommended in order to ensure high quality, durability, reproducibility and comparability of data across Europe. Addressee for the VDI guidelines are all actors and institutions involved in the assessment of environmental effects of genetically modified plants. The guidelines are bilingual in German and English.
The creation of the VDI guidelines was funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment as part of a research and development project.