Environmental Risk Assessment of Non-Target Organisms for Genetically Engineered Crops

This course discusses when, why, and how environmental risk assessments for genetically engineered crops are informed by testing of non-target organisms.

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Course Overview

This course will present when, why, and how environmental risk assessments (ERAs) for genetically engineered crops are informed by assessments and testing of non-target organisms (NTOs). We will review what is an NTO, the important role of problem formulation in identifying what needs to be protected, the development of testable risk hypotheses, and the selection of NTOs and surrogate species for testing. Upon completing this course, students should have a better understanding of the importance of carefully designed NTO testing to inform t­­he regulatory risk assessment of genetically engineered crops. This course will reference guidance and information from multiple regulatory systems and international forums to illustrate concepts and ideas. However, it is not an attempt to represent or endorse any one country’s approach to NTO ERAs.

Course Objective

Participants will learn when and why non-target organisms are considered and how NTO testing is conducted in support of environmental risk assessment for genetically engineered crops.

Course Goals

  1. Improve understanding of non-target organism assessment for genetically engineered crops.
  2. Introduce problem formulation methodology to identify which NTOs are relevant for the risk assessment of a genetically engineered crop.
  3. Help participants understand the tiered testing approach used in support of ERA for genetically engineered crops.


Non-Target Organism (NTO), ERA for genetically engineered crops, Problem Formulation, Surrogate Species

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: What are Non-Target Organisms (NTOs) and When is NTO Testing Informative?
  • Lesson 2: Problem Formulation for NTO Testing for Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA)
  • Lesson 3: Tiered Testing Approach for Non-Target Organisms

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Course Syllabus

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