Confined field trials (CFTs) provide a means to determine whether a genetic modification within a genetically engineered (GE) plant results in unintended effects that could pose a risk to the environment. CFTs are usually performed locally within each individual ”host” country that is considering cultivation of the GE plant, and the CFT data collected is used to inform an environmental risk assessment used for regulatory decision-making. Since the data collected from a CFT involves a comparative assessment of the GE crop to its non-GE comparator, data collected from each new host country CFT is duplicative of prior CFT results and does not further inform risk assessment. One way to avoid the needless cost of duplicating CFT data is to make use of pre-existing CFT data obtained from a similar environment outside of a host country.

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute has developed an online tool that allows CFT locations to be characterized with respect to agroclimatic zones to facilitate CFT data transportability. This tool allows users to identify the locations of CFT data generated in environments outside of a host country, which are similar and relevant to the environments found within the host country. To introduce the CFT data transportability tool to members of the African agricultural biotechnology community seeking to make more efficient use of resources for evaluating GE plant biosafety, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute conducted the CFT Data Transportability Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 12-13, 2019.

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