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The overall objective of SIGMEA was to set up a science-based framework, strategies, methods and tools for assessing ecological and economic impacts of GM crops and for an effective management of their development within European cropping systems, i.e. to create a practical toolbox. The specific objectives of SIGMEA were:

- To collate and synthesize existing and developing experimental information on gene flow of the major GM crops targeted for this study (oilseed rape, maize);

- To provide a synthesis of available data on environmental impacts of Bt maize and HT oilseed rape within European cropping systems as well as the identification of gaps in knowledge;

- To fill identified gaps in gene flow knowledge (presence and impact) by designing and conducting landscape scale evaluations of gene flow for beet, maize and oilseed rape;

- To design a landscape generator simulating agricultural landscapes (field patterns, cropping systems allocation) from statistical descriptors.

- To design and implement an operational, practical and dynamic generic gene flow modeling platform at the landscape level integrating existing models (Genesys, MAPOD), using GIS-datasets and allowing extension to other crops, namely sugar beet, rice and wheat.

- To identify changes in farming practices that minimize gene flow and adventitious mixing of GM and non-GM crops and the feasibility of applying these measures on the farm;

- To propose various scenarios, ensuring co-existence in the six regional case studies and evaluate their technical feasibility, economic costs and acceptability by local stakeholders.

- To determine socio-economic and environmental impacts coming from the adoption or not of GM crops by the farmers.

- To build up an integrated and dynamic decision-support system for assessing the sustainability of regional farming systems taking into account both ecological and economic aspects.

- To provide practical recommendations for the decision-making processes relating to the market release of GM crops under progress: implementation of adequate mitigation measures and co-existence rules - including liability aspects -, identification of relevant biological indicators and design of monitoring schemes;

- To design on-site novel methods for GMO detection, identification and quantification as well as sampling procedures for maize, oilseed rape and sugar beet

- To provide a long-term monitoring strategy for EU including recommendations for regulation, relevant biological indicators, sampling and detection methods and analyze its economic implications

- To analyze the current regulatory regimes of EU and member states, their implementation as well as the interest and practice of insurance and re-insurance companies related to liability issues on the release of GMOs which result in damage to persons, property or the environment.

- To provide the scientific community as well as decision-makers with adequate information about gene flow and its implications in terms of co-existence.

Writing: A. Messéan
Creation date: 06 May 2009
Update: 18 July 2013