WP8: Good review practice for risk assessments of GM crops
Existing reviews of GM plant impacts often lack comprehensiveness in that they consider only a few selected aspects and are not explicit about what data they have considered and what they have disregarded. Moreover, quantitative approaches for evaluating empirical data across studies are scarce. Therefore there is a need for systematic and transparent review strategies to select relevant studies and assess their scientific quality in order to obtain valid and comparable results.
The framework for Good Review Practice will be developed by adapting existing systematic review methodologies and meta-analyses which were initially developed for medicine (e.g. the PRISMA Statement for systematic reviews and meta-analyses), later used in environmental studies (Systematic Reviews in Environmental Management 4.0) and social studies (e.g. SCIE systematic mapping guidance) and recently adopted for GMO risk evaluation (e.g. EFSA guidelines). The systematic review concept provides a transparent review and documentation strategy for quantitative data, while meta-analysis offers a corresponding statistical tool set for data analysis. This general framework will serve as a starting point for the topic-specific elaboration of Good Review Practice for WPs 3–5. Subsequently, review strategies will be adapted to specific questions to assess the health effects of GM plants (WP3), their environmental impacts (WP5) and socio-economic benefits (WP4).
WP8 will also integrate the experiences gained while reviewing the specific topics in WPs 3–5 and elaborate a general recommendation for Good Review Practice that demonstrates the scoping of reviews and the quality assessment and further evaluation of reviewed studies. The quality assessment of the reviewed studies, and reports on the reviewing processes will be filed in the GRACE open-access database (WP6). WP8 will also deliver a guidance and recommendation report for Good Review Practice that will be available for download via the GRACE website.
The database CADIMA (Central Access Database for Impact Assessment of Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies) contains quality assessed studies and conclusions on the health effects, socio-economic consequences and environmental impacts of GM plants as well as raw data of animal feeding studies and alternative in vitro approaches.