Transgenic modification of plants is a key enabling technology for developing sustainable biofeedstocks for biofuels production. Regulatory decisions and the wider acceptance and development of transgenic biofeedstock crops are considered from the context of science-based risk assessment. The risk assessment paradigm for transgenic biofeedstock crops is fundamentally no different from that of current generation transgenic crops, except that the focus of the assessment must consider the unique attributes of a given biofeedstock crop and its environmental release. For currently envisioned biofeedstock crops, particular emphasis in risk assessment will be given to characterization of altered metabolic profiles and their implications relative to non-target environmental effects and food safety; weediness and invasiveness when plants are modified for abiotic stress tolerance or are domesticated; and aggregate risk when plants are platforms for multi-product production. Robust risk assessments for transgenic biofeedstock crops are case-specific, initiated through problem formulation, and use tiered approaches for risk characterization.

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Wolt, Jeffrey D.
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