In Ecological and Environmental Biosafety of Transgenic Plants, pages 101-112, 2006. Paper abstract bibtex
Canada has a unique system for regulating products of agriculture biotechnology, based upon familiarity, substantial equivalence, and trait novelty. Plants with novel traits (PNTs) are regulated; such plants can be transgenic or non-transgenic. Safety assessments are required before a PNT can be used as a food, livestock feed, or released unconfined into the environment. This paper outlines the regulation of PNTs, environmental safety assessments of PNTs, and a case assessment study of herbicide-resistant Brassica napus canola in Canada. Since 2005, 62 PNTs have been authorized for environmental release, possessing such traits as herbicide resistance, insect pest and virus resistance, and oil compositional changes. Future challenges in regulation include the interpretation of novelty, new classes of PNTs (e.g., stress tolerance, molecular farming, biofuels production), and evaluating long-term and non-target effects.