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Environmental biosafety of genetically engineered camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz.] for use as a bio-product crop Open Access


Other title
environmental risk assessment
bioindustrial platform crops
Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz.
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Walsh, Kimberly Dawn
Supervisor and department
Linda Hill, Department of Agri Food and Nutr Sci - Supervisor
Examining committee member and department
Hill, Melissa J. (Adjunct, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science/Grant McEwan University)
Deyholos, Michael (Department of Biological Sciences)
Weselake, Randall (Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science)
Maxwell, Bruce D. (External Examiner, Montana State University)
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Camelina is currently being evaluated as bioindustrial platform crop on the Canadian Prairies. Prior to unconfined release of genetically engineered (GE) camelina, an environmental risk assessment must be conducted. Camelina pollen-mediated gene flow (PMGF) was assessed using a dominant DsRed seed-expressed transgene in small and large plot experiments. Intraspecific small plot PMGF examined approximately 8 M seeds. Outcrossing was low, ranging from 0.09 to 0.28% at up to 0.6 m distance. Large plot assessment screened over 19 M seeds and detected a maximum PMGF of 0.78% immediately adjacent to the pollen source. However, PMGF rapidly declined by 99% at 9.99 m (± 0.18 m) from the pollen source with rare events (≤ 0.001%) at 20 m. Interspecific PMGF to weedy relative shepherd’s purse was examined under greenhouse and small plot conditions. Zero hybrids were detected in 103,000 and 30,000 seeds respectively which corresponds to PMGF at or below 0.1 and 0.025%. Camelina is self-fertile with a low propensity for interspecific gene flow that should not constrain novel cultivar development. A study of camelina seed-mediated gene flow quantified seed bank inputs, longevity, and emergence in growers fields. Seed losses incurred at harvest were high and variable (1,202 to 43,430 viable seeds m-2). Seed banks became 99% depleted within 15 months. In the year following production, camelina volunteer populations were initially high (1,208 plants m-2) but declined to nearly extinct (0.6 plants m-2) by two years post-production. While seed bank inputs can be high, camelina’s brief persistence limits weediness in agricultural areas.
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