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Co-Extra is an EU-funded research programme on co-existence and traceability of genetically modified crops and their edible derivatives. It has been granted €13.5 million under the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union, and is conducted by more than 200 scientists in 52 organisations in 18 countries. The programme runs from 2005 until 2009 and has a total budget of €24 million.

Research goals[edit]

The research programme studies and validates biological containment methods, forges supply chain organisations, and provides practical tools and methods for implementing co-existence between GMO-based (i.e., based on the use of genetically modified organisms) and non-GMO-based supply chains.

Also supporting cost-effective documentary traceability, Co-Extra is aimed at devising reliable, analytical detection methods, and at establishing the most appropriate methods of collecting, organising and distributing information. A core programme objective is the provision, to all stakeholders of food and feed chains, of a central decision-support system incorporating all necessary institutional tools, methods, models and guidelines.

Co-Extra’s conclusions contribute to the progress of standardisation in Europe – thereby preserving consumers’ freedom of choice between GM and non-GM products.

Work packages[edit]

The programme is structured in eight work packages (WP):

  • WP 1: Biology approaches for gene flow mitigation
  • WP 2: Supply chain analysis, description and modelling
  • WP 3: Economic costs and benefits of co-existence and traceability
  • WP 4: Development testing and sampling approaches
  • WP 5: Development and integration of analytical traceability tools
  • WP 6: Technical challenges of GMO detection
  • WP 7: Integration with respect to legal, scientific, social and ethical issues
  • WP 8: Dialogue and communication

Dissemination of research results[edit]

The editorial team of WP 8 presents all findings on the programme's website, which has been written and designed for an audience of stakeholders and interested lay persons. The website also supplies background information on the public debate on co-existence and traceability in many EU countries, as well as on the current status of implementation of co-existence and traceability legislation and measures.

External links[edit]