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Institute of

FG Forest Genetics



Biosafety of forest transgenic trees: improving the scientific basis for safe tree development and implementation of EU policy directives (Cost-Biosafety)

Incontrasttoagriculturalplants, well-documentedknowledgefor GMtreesisavailableonlyina fewdatabases. But trees differinmanyfeaturessuch ascomplex habitat,longlife span,lowdegree of domesticationin comparison to agriculturalplants.

Background and Objective

The main objective of this Action is to evaluate and substantiate the scientific knowledge relevant for genetically modified tree (GMT) biosafety protocols by putting together already existing information generated in various European countries as the basis for future EU policy and regulation for the environmental impact assessment and the safe development and practical use of GMTs.


This Action will focus on four key aspects related to the biosafety of GMTs: (a) analyses of the efficiency of existing gene containment strategies to avoid or if not possible to minimize gene flow; (b) facilitate efforts to develop site-specific integration of transgenes in tree genomes to minimize variability of transgene expression and pleiotropic effects, (c) evaluate possible methods to monitor GMTs in the whole production chain, and (d) conduct socio-economic and cost/benefit analyses in relation to the use of GMTs in plantations. This Action combines multidisciplinary knowledge generated with transgenic lines of forest trees (such as, Populus spp., Pinus spp., Eucalyptus spp., Betula spp., Castanea spp., Picea spp., etc.) as well as extensive expertise in correlated topics. The information gained should contribute to strengthen the scientific basis for the execution of the EU policy directives related to transgenic trees intended for cultivation in Europe. The knowledge gained will be summarised in a book as a final output of this Action.


4.2010 - 4.2014

More Information

Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Kazana V, Tsourgiannis L, Iakovoglou V, Stamatiou C, Kazaklis A, Koutsona P, Raptis D, Boutsimea A, Sijacic-Nikolic M, Vettori C, Fladung M (2016) Approaches and tools for a socio-economic assessment of GM forest tree crops: factors for consideration in cost-benefit analyses. Forestry Sci 82:209-221, DOI:10.1007/978-74-017-7529-87531-1_11

  2. 1

    Custers R, Bartsch D, Fladung M, Nilsson O, Pilate G, Sweet JB, Boerjan W (2016) EU regulations impede market introduction of GM forest trees. Trends Plant Sci 21(4):283-285, DOI:10.1016/j.tplants.2016.01.015

  3. 2

    Häggman H, Sutela S, Fladung M (2016) Genetic engineering contribution to forest tree breeding efforts. Forestry Sci 82:11-29, DOI:10.1007/978-74-017-7531-1_2

  4. 3

    Vettori C, Fladung M (2016) Introduction. Forestry Sci 82:1-7

  5. 4

    Pilate G, Allona I, Boerjan W, Dejardin A, Fladung M, Gallardo F, Häggman H, Jansson S, van Acker R, Halpin C (2016) Lessons from 25 years of GM tree field trials in Europe and prospects for the future. Forestry Sci 82:67-100, DOI:10.1007/978-94-017-7531-1_4

  6. 5

    Biricolti S, Bartsch D, Boerjan W, Fladung M, Glandorf DCM, Sweet JB, Gallardo F (2016) Potential impacts of GM trees on the environment and on plant "Omics": questionnaire-based responses. Forestry Sci 82:195-205

  7. 6

    Kazana V, Tsourgiannis L, Iakovoglou V, Stamatiou C, Alexandrov A, Bogdan S, Bozic G, Brus R, Bossinger G, Boutsimea A, Celepirovic N, Cvrcková H, Fladung M, et al (2016) Public attitudes towards the use of transgenic forest trees: a crosscountry pilot survey. iForest 9(2):344-353, DOI:10.3832/ifor1441-008

  8. 7

    Kazana V, Tsourgiannis L, Iakovoglou V, Fladung M, et al (2016) Public knowledge and perceptions of safety issues towards the use of genetically modified forest trees: a cross-country pilot survey. Forestry Sci 82:223-244

  9. 8

    Gallardo F, Sánchez C, Grabowski M, Molina-Rueda JJ, Vidal N, Fladung M (2016) Soil effects of genetically modified trees (GMTs). Forestry Sci 82:155-172

  10. 9

    Häggman H, Vettori C, Pilate G, Gallardo F, Ionita L, Ruohonen-Lehto M, Glandorf B, Harfouche A, Biricolti S, Paffetti D, Kazana V, Sijacic-Nikolic M, Tsourgiannis L, Migliacci F, Minol K, Fladung M (2015) COST Action FP0905: final results. In: Vettori C, Vendramin GG, Paffetti D, Travaglini D (eds) IUFRO Tree Biotechnology 2015 Conference : "Forests: the importance to the planet and society" ; 8-12 June 2015, Florence, Italy ; Proceedings. Florenz: IUFRO, pp 169-171

  11. 10

    Häggman H, Sutela S, Walter C, Fladung M (2014) Biosafety considerations in the context of deployment of GE trees. Forestry Sci 81:491-524, doi:10.1007/978-94-007-7076-8_21

  12. 11

    Vettori C, Pilate G, Häggman H, Gallardo F, Ionita L, Ruohonen-Lehto M, Glandorf B, Harfouche A, Biricolti S, Paffetti D, Kazana V, Sijacic-Nikolic M, Tsourgiannis L, Migliacci F, Donnarumma F, Minol K, Fladung M (2014) COST Action FP0905: biosafety of forest transgenic trees. In: Ramawat KG, Mérillon J-M, Ahuja MR (eds) Tree biotechnology. Boca Raton: CRC Press ; Taylor & Francis, pp 112-124

  13. 12

    Ahuja MR, Fladung M (2014) Integration and inheritance of transgenes in crop plants and trees. Tree Genetics Genomes 10(4):779-790, DOI:10.1007/s11295-014-0724-2

  14. 13

    Fladung M, Hönicka H, Ahuja MR (2013) Genomic stability and long-term transgene expression in poplar. Transgenic Res 22(6):1167-1178, DOI:10.1007/s11248-013-9719-2

  15. 14

    Hönicka H, Lehnhardt D, Polak O, Fladung M (2012) Early flowering and genetic containment studies in transgenic poplar. iForest 5:138-146, DOI:10.3832/ifor0621-005

  16. 15

    Fladung M, Altosaar I, Bartsch D, Baucher M, Boscaleri F, Gallardo F, Häggman H, Hönicka H, Nielsen K, Paffetti D, Seguin A, Stotzky G, Vettori C (2012) European discussion forum on transgenic tree biosafety. Nature Biotechnol 30(1):37-38, DOI:10.1038/nbt.2078

  17. 16

    Fladung M, Hönicka H (2012) Fifteen years of forest tree biosafety research in Germany. iForest 5:126-130, DOI:10.3832/ifor0619-005

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