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

In contrast to agricultural plants, well-documented knowledge for GM trees is available only in a few databases. But trees differ in many features such as complex habitat, long life span, low degree of domestication in comparison to agricultural plants.

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.


Involved Thünen-Partners


4.2010 - 4.2014

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished


Results 11 - 17 of 17

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Fladung M, Hönicka H (2012) Fifteen years of forest tree biosafety research in Germany. iForest 5:126-130, DOI:10.3832/ifor0619-005

Results 11 - 17 of 17

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