Transgenic Research

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1191-1214

First online:

Bt-maize event MON 88017 expressing Cry3Bb1 does not cause harm to non-target organisms

  • Yann DevosAffiliated withGMO Unit, European Food Safety Authority Email author 
  • , Adinda De SchrijverAffiliated withBiosafety and Biotechnology Unit, Scientific Institute of Public Health Email author 
  • , Patrick De ClercqAffiliated withDepartment of Crop Protection, Ghent University
  • , József KissAffiliated withPlant Protection Institute, Szent István University
  • , Jörg RomeisAffiliated withAgroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART

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This review paper explores whether the cultivation of the genetically modified Bt-maize transformation event MON 88017, expressing the insecticidal Cry3Bb1 protein against corn rootworms (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), causes adverse effects to non-target organisms (NTOs) and the ecological and anthropocentric functions they provide. Available data do not reveal adverse effects of Cry3Bb1 on various NTOs that are representative of potentially exposed taxonomic and functional groups, confirming that the insecticidal activity of the Cry3Bb1 protein is limited to species belonging to the coleopteran family of Chrysomelidae. The potential risk to non-target chrysomelid larvae ingesting maize MON 88017 pollen deposited on host plants is minimal, as their abundance in maize fields and the likelihood of encountering harmful amounts of pollen in and around maize MON 88017 fields are low. Non-target adult chrysomelids, which may occasionally feed on maize MON 88017 plants, are not expected to be affected due to the low activity of the Cry3Bb1 protein on adults. Impacts on NTOs caused by potential unintended changes in maize MON 88017 are not expected to occur, as no differences in composition, phenotypic characteristics and plant-NTO interactions were observed between maize MON 88017 and its near-isogenic line.


Genetically modified maize MON 88017 MON 863 Insect resistance Cry3Bb1 Non-target organisms Adverse effects Environmental risk assessment Tiered approach