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Journal Articles EFSA Journal Year : 2021

In vivo and in vitro random mutagenesis techniques in plants

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Ewen Mullins
  • Function : Author
Jean‐louis Bresson
  • Function : Author
Tamas Dalmay
  • Function : Author
Ian Crawford Dewhurst
  • Function : Author
Michelle M Epstein
  • Function : Author
Leslie George Firbank
  • Function : Author
Philippe Guerche
Jan Hejatko
  • Function : Author
Francisco Javier Moreno
  • Function : Author
Hanspeter Naegeli
  • Function : Author
Fabien Nogué
Jose Juan Sánchez Serrano
  • Function : Author
Giovanni Savoini
  • Function : Author
Eve Veromann
  • Function : Author
Fabio Veronesi
  • Function : Author
Josep Casacuberta
  • Function : Author
Paolo Lenzi
  • Function : Author
Irene Munoz Guajardo
  • Function : Author
Tommaso Raffaello
  • Function : Author
Nils Rostoks
  • Function : Author


Mutations are changes in the genetic material that may be transmitted to subsequent generations. Mutations appear spontaneously in nature and are one of the underlying driving forces of evolution. In plants, in vivo and in vitro random mutagenesis relies on the application of physical and chemical mutagens to increase the frequency of mutations thus accelerating the selection of varieties with important agronomic traits. The European Commission has requested EFSA to provide a more detailed description of in vivo and in vitro random mutagenesis techniques and the types of mutations and mechanisms involved, to be able to conclude on whether in vivo and in vitro random mutagenesis techniques are to be considered different techniques. To address the European Commission request, a literature search was conducted to collect information on the random mutagenesis techniques used in plants both in vivo and in vitro, on the type of mutations generated by such techniques and on the molecular mechanisms underlying formation of those mutations. The GMO Panel concludes that most physical and chemical mutagenesis techniques have been applied both in vivo and in vitro; the mutation process and the repair mechanisms act at cellular level and thus there is no difference between application of the mutagen in vivo or in vitro; and the type of mutations induced by a specific mutagen are expected to be the same, regardless of whether such mutagen is applied in vivo or in vitro. Indeed, the same mutation and the derived trait in a given plant species can be potentially obtained using both in vivo and in vitro random mutagenesis and the resulting mutants would be indistinguishable. Therefore, the GMO Panel concludes that the distinction between plants obtained by in vitro or in vivo approaches is not justified.
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Dates and versions

hal-03749913 , version 1 (11-08-2022)





Ewen Mullins, Jean‐louis Bresson, Tamas Dalmay, Ian Crawford Dewhurst, Michelle M Epstein, et al.. In vivo and in vitro random mutagenesis techniques in plants. EFSA Journal, 2021, 19 (11), ⟨10.2903/j.efsa.2021.6611⟩. ⟨hal-03749913⟩
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