Genetically modified (GM) crops were initially developed by inserting single genes to confer a new trait in the crop. In many countries, rigorous safety assessment is conducted on these single traits before the products are allowed for direct use as food and feed, for processing, and in some cases, for propagation. As tremendous benefits are realized from the single traits, technology developers have combined them in various permutations to benefit the target growers and consumers. In most cases, they were combined or stacked through conventional breeding or by mating lines carrying different single traits and selecting progeny that carry them together.

In the Philippines, the regulatory system has assessed the stacked traits for interaction as an indication of potential increased risk. Other countries either do not have additional safety assessment of combined approved single traits or require a partial re-evaluation. As stacked products will continue to increase in number, it is necessary to establish a practical, science-based regulation that will facilitate prompt delivery of GM stacks to user industries without compromising safety. The Science Policy Forum on Science-Based Regulation of Breeding Stacks, which took place on January 22, 2019 in Manila, was held to provide regulators information and a science-based framework for the regulation of breeding trait stacks. During this event, Dr. Morven McLean, Agriculture & Food Systems Institute Executive Director, delivered the presentation General Principles of Science-based Registration of GM Stacks.

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