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J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Dec 4;61(48):11711-20. doi: 10.1021/jf4004384. Epub 2013 May 15.

Expression of flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase and acetolactate synthase genes in transgenic carnation: assessing the safety of a nonfood plant.

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  • 1School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University , P.O. Box 71, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia.


For 16 years, genetically modified flowers of carnation ( Dianthus caryophyllus ) have been sold to the floristry industry. The transgenic carnation carries a herbicide tolerance gene (a mutant gene encoding acetolactate synthase (ALS)) and has been modified to produce delphinidin-based anthocyanins in flowers, which conventionally bred carnation cannot produce. The modified flower color has been achieved by introduction of a gene encoding flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H). Transgenic carnation flowers are produced in South America and are primarily distributed to North America, Europe, and Japan. Although a nonfood crop, the release of the genetically modified carnation varieties required an environmental risk impact assessment and an assessment of the potential for any increased risk of harm to human or animal health compared to conventionally bred carnation. The results of the health safety assessment and the experimental studies that accompanied them are described in this review. The conclusion from the assessments has been that the release of genetically modified carnation varieties which express F3'5'H and ALS genes and which accumulate delphinidin-based anthocyanins do not pose an increased risk of harm to human or animal health.

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