German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Experimental Studies on the Distribution of Transgenetic Crops by Animals


Risk assessment

Research Code

201 67 432

Project Lifecycle

1 June 2001 – 31 May 2004

Research Focus and Aims

The R&D activity comprises two sub-projects:

  1. Experimental investigations on the dispersal of transgenes via plant diaspores (seeds and fruits) following passage through the digestive tract: experimental investigations will be conducted based on a study on the robustness of plant diaspores following digestion (Haltbarkeit pflanzlicher Verbreitungseinheiten nach Magen-Darm-Passage) commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) as part of the environmental risk assessment. The findings from the literature-based study show that no systematic investigations have been conducted on germination and dormancy of plant diaspores expelled with excrement. The data provided in the literature usually refers only to investigations on the contents of the digestive tract and in some partial seed viability tests under standardised conditions. The aim of this sub-project is thus to use representative animal species to assess in as near-nature conditions as possible the risks arising from excreted plant diaspores. This study will include crop species that occur in Germany.
  2. Experimental investigations on horizontal gene transfer in animals' digestive tracts: the study will look at whether the DNA of transgenic plants eaten by animals is transferred to and subsequently transforms intestinal micro-organisms or cells in animals like birds, small mammals and livestock. The research work will also assess how this can affect both the animals themselves and the environment.

Research Body

Lehrstuhl für Physiologie
Fakultät Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan für Ernährung, Landnutzung und Umwelt
Technische Universität München
Weihenstephaner Berg 3
85354 Freising

Project Team: Dr. Bodo Lutz, Dr. Christiane Albrecht

Point of Contact at BfN

Birgit Winkel FG II 2.3

Final Report/Publication

BfN-Skripten 225 (in German)

Last Change: 05/07/2006