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Non-Target Organisms

Note: DuPont scientists conducted a review of current scientific literature related to the potential effect of biotech crops and the proteins expressed in transgenic crops to non-target organisms. This information will be updated from time-to-time. We welcome new scientific information and, of course, your perspective.

Assessment of the potential effect of biotech crops and the proteins expressed in transgenic crops to non-target organisms is a critical component of the regulatory review process.  Non-target organisms may include beneficial insects, animals, and endangered species.  Agricultural biotech companies have groups of scientists devoted to understanding the potential impact of transgenic crops to non-target organisms in the environment.  For example, biotech crops with insect-resistant traits undergo tests on multiple non-target species including: quail, trout, daphnia, collembola, earthworm, honeybee, lacewing, parasitic wasp, ladybird beetle and monarch butterfly.  Both laboratory and field testing are part of the rigorous assessment process.  Scientists first evaluate which non-target organisms might be exposed to the transgenic plant; next they evaluate if the crop or protein will have any adverse effects on the organisms.  Finally, scientists pair the data together to understand the likelihood that exposed organisms will be adversely affected; this process is called risk assessment.

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