B/RO/11/01: Environmental use of virus-resistant plum C5

GMTW-2238 , updated 15 Mar 2011
2011 - 2019
1200 m2
environmental use
agronomical and phenotype performance
development of male sterility

Tree species

Prunus domestica
European plum
hybrid Stanley C5 (Honey Sweet), also described as cultivar Bluebyrd
Stone fruit species that includes several varieties (e.g. Common plums, damsons, mirabelle); cultivated in Europe, Asia (China) and parts of the Americas; pollinated by bees.

Notifier & developers

Locations of this trial

All trial locations with the same GM trees

Locationsort icon Country
Bistrita Romania
Llíria Spain
Poland Poland
Praha-Ruzyně Czech Republic
Romania Romania
Spain Spain
West Virginia (WV) USA


Environmental Release
"1. Purpose of the release:
The main objective of field trial of C5 genetically modified plum resistant to Sharka is to gain further information relating to the agronomical and phenotype performance and compatibility of this event under PPV endemic area and geo-climatic conditions of Romania. The study will be performed in the context of Plum pox virus-free plum crops and decreasing the environmental pollution caused by the abuse of pesticides used for aphids control. The use of C5 in hybridization to obtain male sterile progenies resistant to PPV is also a goal of this field trial."
(Summary Notification 2011)

"4. Relevant data regarding previous releases carried out with the same GM-plant, if any, specifically related to the potential environmental and human health impacts from the release:
Transgenic plum trees containing the PPV CP gene were tested in experimental orchards under conditions of high PPV inoculums pressure in Spain (notification numbers B/ES/96/16, B/ES/05/14), Poland (ref DOPgmo 4301/02-4/2002v), and Romania (import authorization by Ministry of Agriculture no. 1166/ 02/ 1996). Transgenic C5 plum trees were highly resistant to graft-inoculation with PPV and no tree became infected via aphid-mediated transmission of PPV over 10-years of field trials (Malinowski et al., 2006 - Plant disease). These data revealed the durability of resistance to PPV of C5 plum trees. The engineered resistance to PPV in C5 was also stable in the presence of heterologous viruses (Zagrai et. al., 2008 – Journal of Plant Pathology)
Because the transgenic plums carry the PPV CP gene, the environmental safety issues have been expressed on potential hazards concerning the emergence of PPV variants. The potential impact of transgenic plums expressing PPV CP gene construct on the diversity and dynamics of PPV populations was assessed under open and confined conditions in the frame of a research program sponsored by the European Commission (TRANSVIR QLK3-CT-2002-02140). Across field trials conducted in different locations (Romania and Spain) and environments (continental and Mediterranean), transgenic plums expressing the PPV CP gene had no detectable effect on the emergence of recombinant PPV species over ten years. Also, these transgenic plums had a neutral impact on non-target organisms over extended time (Capote et al., 2008 - Transgenic Research, Zagrai et al., 2010 – Journal of Plant Pathology).
Another field trial with C5 transgenic plum is in progress in Czech Republic (notification number B/CZ/06/03). This trial has shown that PPV resistance remains stable in C5 HoneySweet even in the presence of other Prunus-infecting viruses (Jarosova et al., 2010 - Julius-Kuhn-Archiv)."
(Summary Notification 2011)

Environmental Impact and Risk Management
Summary of the potential environmental impact from the release of the GMPts:
The release of GM-European plums carrying the coat protein gene of PPV is considered not to have any adverse effect on human, animals or plants. PPV resistance will not impart weediness to this plum. There is not possibility of an increase of the transgenic trees population nor the GM-trees have selective advantage compared to conventional ones, since they became resistant to PPV. The transgenic plum trees were exhaustively studied along 15 years period. Risk assessment studies demonstrated that the release of this GMO does not constitute an environmental risk. It was concluded that C5 transgenic plum and any progeny derived from hybrid crosses with nontransformed plum varieties will be no more of a plant pest than plum varieties in traditional breeding (USDA/APHIS -Federal Register Doc. E7-13649, July 12, 2007). In addition, there is a history of another GMO carrying a similar insert (transgenic papaya exhibiting „pathogen-derived resistance”) that attest the safe consumption and no adverse effect on environment. The safety of C5 HoneySweet is indicated by its deregulation in the U.S. by USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These approvals were based on the extensive investigation of this plum in both the U.S. and Europe, including studies undertaken in Romania under previous permits.
An Environmental Risk Assessment study has been completed and submitted with this application. In summary, no immediate or delayed adverse effects as a result of the direct and indirect interaction of the genetically modified plum with the environment have been identified.
(Summary Notification 2011)

Brief description of any measures taken for the management of risks:

  • The experimental plot will be surrounded by non-transgenic border trees, apple, pear and cherry (which are sexually incompatible with plums) to minimize pollen dispersal;
  • Planting and harvesting will be conducted by SCDP Bistrita personnel trained on precaution measures;
  • Carrying out regular visits to inspect field trail site, making observations, samples collecting and verifying that adequate measures are applied for preventing pests and diseases;
  • No fruit products resulting from the field trail will be used as food or feed;
  • Potential plum seedlings will be monitored and removed.
  • All GMP debris will be removed from the test area and destroy. At the end of the experiment, the plants will be herbicide-killed and then the trees eliminated by bulldozing into large piles and burning.

(Summary Notification 2011)

Summary of foreseen field trial studies focused to gain new data on environmental and human health impact from the release:
This trial includes a secondary objective to gain new data on the environment impact, such as coexistence of transgenic with conventional plums, including also wild Prunus. A few Prunus cerasifera and Prunus spinosa plants will be grown in the same experimental plot to check the potential of gene flow to these species. We expect an insignificant potential of natural transfer since the blooming time between C5 and the two wild species is different. A high level of incompatibility between C5 and the two species is also expected (Nielsen and Olrik, 2001 – Nordic Journal of Botany).
The producing of a limited numbers of male sterile progeny resistant to PPV (derived from hybridization between conventional male sterile plum cultivars and C5) is also a goal of the trial. These kinds of plants will avoid any controversy referring to coexistence.
(Summary Notification 2011)