A model to determine the environmental risks of GMOs has been developed by William Muir and Richard Howard, two Purdue University researchers. They were funded by the USDA's Biotechnology Risk Assessment Program to develop a method to assess the environmental risk posed by genetically modified fish. They have expanded the model to include all sexually reproducing organisms, which includes most animals and plants.

“I think this model could be a first step to the acceptance of biotechnology,” Muir says. “If a genetically modified organism shows little or no risk with this set of tests in a laboratory environment, we're confident that in nature's more stringent conditions, the organism will be even less of a risk.”

Using the model, academic scientists, corporations and government regulatory agencies can now screen genetically modified plants and animals to determine if their introduction into the environment could result in an environmental risk.