Reuter, Hauke ORCID:, Middelhoff, Ulrike, Graef, Frieder, Verhoeven, Richard, Batz, Thomas, Weis, Martin, Schmidt, Gunther, Schröder, Winfried and Breckling, Broder (2010) Information system for monitoring environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 17 (8). pp. 1479-1490. DOI

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Background, aim and scope

European legislation stipulates that genetically modified organisms (GMO) have to be monitored to identify potential adverse environmental effects. A wealth of different types of monitoring data from various sources including existing environmental monitoring programmes is expected to accumulate. This requires an information system to efficiently structure, process and evaluate the monitoring data.


A structure for an Information System for Monitoring GMO (ISMO) was developed by a multidisciplinary research team. It is based on the requirement to organise all relevant information in a logical, readily accessible and functional manner.


For the ISMO, we present a combination of three interrelated components: Firstly, an ISMO should comprise a knowledge database structured according to information related to the different scale levels of biological organisation relevant to GMO monitoring and scientific hypotheses on cause–effects which should be validated by monitoring data. Secondly, a monitoring database should be part of an ISMO containing GMO-specific monitoring data and meta-data. This monitoring database should be linked with monitoring data from other monitoring programmes which are relevant for GMO-related questions. Thirdly, an ISMO should encompass a database covering administrative and procedural data. Neither national nor international approaches to an ISMO exist yet.


An ISMO as designed in this paper could support competent authorities in both the GMO notification process and in post-market monitoring. This includes evaluating the environmental risks of experimentally releasing GMO and placing them on the market, assessing monitoring plans and evaluating monitoring results. The ISMO should be implemented on both the national and international level, preferably combining different administrative scales. Harmonisation approaches towards GMO monitoring data are at an initial stage, but they are a precondition to coordinated GMO monitoring and to successfully implementing an ISMO. It is recommended to set up a legal basis and to agree on common strategies for the data coordination and harmonisation.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Integrated Modelling > Spatial Ecology and Interactions
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0944-1344
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2019 16:28
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:00

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