Research conducted by the Laboratory of Nematology is part of the research program of the Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) and the C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology & Resource Conservation (PE&RC).
GM Crop Impact Assessment on Soil Ecosystems by DNA Barcode-based Monitoring of Nematode Communities (ERGONema)
Within our society there is a vivid debate about how to deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Genetic modification can result in more vigorous plants, less susceptible to e.g. drought, salt, or pathogens. On the other hand, there is societal concern about potential negative effects of GMOs on the environment. The main goal of the project is to develop an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) method for the evaluation of the possible effects of genetically modified (GM) crops on the soil biodiversity and fertility. In this part of the project the impact of several GM crops on the biodiversity of nematodes in the soil will be analyzed by using a newly developed DNA-barcode based tool. Nematodes have close feeding relationships to various groups of soil organisms as well as plant material and are therefore regardes as bio-indicators of the complete soil fauna. A relationship between the nematode community structures and soil fertility will be determined by linking this study to the results of a project focused on the effects on soil fertility. With the combination of information from these two studies a new ERA method will be designed.
- Jessica Vervalle