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Methodologies and special considerations for environmental risk analysis of genetically modified aquatic biocontrol organisms
- Genya V. Dana, Anne M. Cooper, Kelly M. Pennington, Leah S. Sharpe
- Biological invasions 2014 v.16 no.6 pp. 1257-1272
- aquatic environment, biological control, ecosystems, fish, invasive species, risk management, terminology, uncertainty
- Genetic biocontrol of invasive aquatic species proposes to introduce, for control purposes, a genetically modified (GM) version of an invasive fish species to a targeted aquatic environment. Safe deployment and long term use of such technologies will depend on identifying and managing possible unintended effects to the natural environment. Environmental risk analysis (ERA) is a method for identifying the likelihood and consequences of unintended impacts, and for developing risk management strategies. For the unique situation of genetically modified biocontrol organisms (GMBOs), we review the latest thinking in ERA methodologies for GM fish and explore how terminology and assumptions from ERAs of traditional, non-modified biocontrol organisms and GM fish will need to be recast in ERAs of GMBOs. We also outline some special considerations that an ERA of a GMBOs will have to contend with: non-intuitive potential hazards; uncertainty introduced by extrapolating from domestic systems to natural ecosystems; redundancy in risk management options; and challenges of stakeholder engagement related to new technologies.