Standardized methods for the GMO monitoring of butterflies and moths: The whys and hows

Aug 08, 2013
Standardized methods for the GMO monitoring of butterflies and moths: The whys and hows
This is a picture of a butterfly examined during the survey. Credit: Andreas Lang

Butterflies and moths were the first biological indicators considered for the purpose of GMO monitoring within the VDI guidelines series. The European community stipulates a monitoring plan in order to trace and identify any harmful effects on human health or the environment of GMO after they have been placed on the market. Butterflies and moths are widely accepted as relevant protection goals and have often been suggested and applied as suitable indicators for the monitoring of environmental quality and changes as one of the major indicators to monitor and assess biodiversity change in Europe.

Adverse effects of genetically modified (GM) plants on Lepidoptera have already been reported, which strongly supports their quality and significance for an appropriate GMO monitoring. The VDI guidelines provide the state-of-the-art of a GMO monitoring of Lepidoptera as required by the European Community. They describe the best possible treatment of the demands of a Lepidopteran GMO monitoring.

The paper recently published in the open access journal BioRisk, reports known and potential effects of GM plants on Lepidoptera. The study aims at an increase in the detection success of such effects, thus meeting the required criteria for a GMO monitoring formulated by the EC. Information is provided on the sampling and monitoring of day-active Lepidoptera, of night-active and of the recording of Lepidopteran larvae, as well as to sample design and strategy. Though specifically designed for GM crops, the VDI guidelines may also serve as a template to monitor the effects of a wider range of adverse factors on Lepidoptera in agriculture

Standardized methods for the GMO monitoring of butterflies and moths: The whys and hows
This image is showing Dr. Lang searching for butterfly larvae. Credit: Andreas Lang

This is an image of a maize field in an agricultural landscape Credit: Andreas Lang

The guidelines describe and ensure a suitable approach for a powerful and cost-efficient monitoring, which is not equivalent to being cheap, but means generating data of high (or sufficient) quality with an acceptable and justified effort. An iterative quality control of the monitoring results is paramount, regularly checking the relation between invested efforts and value of generated data, and continuously adapting the monitoring programme to scientific progress and new knowledge.

Explore further: No biomarkers identified to assess potential health effects of GMOs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researcher helps construct Lepidoptera family tree of life

Apr 15, 2013

A new international study co-authored by a University of Florida researcher describes one of the most comprehensive analyses of Lepidoptera evolutionary relationships to date, and could have broad implications in the fields ...

Airing the gene technology issue online

Sep 26, 2012

According to polls, the average European consumer regards gene technology, particularly for food production, as controversial. To help alleviate consumer concern, a European project has set up a website specifically ...

Recommended for you

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Apr 17, 2014

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...