A quantitative safety assessment model for transgenic protein products produced in agricultural crops

Transgenic plants are now being used to develop pharmaceutical and industrial products in addition to their use in crop improvement. Using confinement requirements, these transgenic plants are grown and processed under conditions that prevent intermixing with commodity crops. Regulatory agencies in the United States have provided guidance of zero tolerance of these new industrial crops with commodity crops. While this is a worthy goal, it is theoretically unattainable. In spite of the best containment practices, there is a potential risk using any system of production due to unforeseen incidences including natural disasters or exposure to workers. The precautionary principle has been used for numerous regulated articles in addressing the potential risks of new products and technology based on a risk assessment in similar situations. We present here a risk assessment model that could be used as a start to develop an accepted model for the industry. The model is based on current risk models used for other regulated articles, but adapted for these types of products. This could be used to determine action levels in the event of an unintended exposure or to ensure that detection or confinement methods are adequate to avoid risks. As an example, aprotinin, a therapeutic protein now being produced in maize, was evaluated for potential risk to humans using this model.
Keywords aprotinin industrial enzymes  maize  pharmaceuticals  plants  risk  transgenic
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DOI 10.1007/s10806-004-1470-5
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