Biosafety research for non-target organism risk assessment of RNAi-based GE plants

Andrew F. Roberts, Yann Devos, Godwin N.Y. Lemgo, Xuguo Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


RNA interference, or RNAi, refers to a set of biological processes that make use of conserved cellular machinery to silence genes. Although there are several variations in the source and mechanism, they are all triggered by double stranded RNA (dsRNA) which is processed by a protein complex into small, single stranded RNA, referred to as small interfering RNAs (siRNA) with complementarity to sequences in genes targeted for silencing. The use of the RNAi mechanism to develop new traits in plants has fueled a discussion about the environmental safety of the technology for these applications, and this was the subject of a symposium session at the 13th ISBGMO in Cape Town, South Africa. This paper continues that discussion by proposing research areas that may be beneficial for future environmental risk assessments of RNAi-based genetically modified plants, with a particular focus on non-target organism assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number958
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberNOVEMBER
StatePublished - Nov 6 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Roberts, Devos, Lemgo and Zhou.


  • Biosafety research
  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Non-target organisms
  • Plant biotechnology
  • RNAi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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