Marketing of a GM carnation: Advice from ACRE

As an update on the environmental impact of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), it is rewarding to dip into the latest government assessments.

A recent environmental exposure and impacts assessment have been completed by the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) under Section 124 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Part VI) to UK ministers and ministers in the Devolved Administrations.

It relates to advice on a notification for the marketing of a GM carnation (FLO-40685-1). The GM carnation line genetically modified for petal colour and herbicide tolerance. This line (FLO-40685-1) is modified to contain F3’5’H and DFR proteins, which confer the ability to produce a violet pigment and a mutated ALS protein, which confers tolerance to sulfonylurea herbicides.

ACRE agreed with the notifer (Suntory Holdings Ltd) that it is very unlikely that cut the carnation flowers will:

  1. produce vegetative structures (without human assistance) and survive in the environment after disposal;
  2. set viable seed or
  3. release pollen that will generate hybrids with wild carnations, other Dianthus species or other members of the Carophyllaceae family.

Consequently, environmental exposure and therefore, the risk that FLO-40685-1 carnations pose to the environment is negligible. However, it is possible that individuals will propagate leaf and/or stem cuttings in glasshouses or in gardens. This is not legal as carnation FLO-40685-1 is not approved for cultivation in the EU. If this does happen, ACRE considers that there is sufficient information in this notification to conclude that the impact on the environment will be minimal. There is no evidence that gene flow from garden-cultivated carnations into related species would occur or that these plants will become invasive or weedy.

ACRE considered that the post-market monitoring plan for FLO-40685-1 carnation is compatible with the environmental risk assessment provided in the notification. The next stage is for annual monitoring reports if the GMO is approved for import, distribution and retail in the EU.

If you would like a copy of the original advice on a notification for the marketing of a GM carnation (FLO-40685-1), a copy can be downloaded at

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