National Node of the BCH
Capacity Building Activities, Projects and Opportunities
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2007-04-27 14:24 UTC (andrew.bowers@cbd.int)
Date of last update
2010-02-02 09:07 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2010-02-02 09:07 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)

General information
Title of the initiative
BioSeg - Embrapa´s Network Project on Biosafety
Contact person
Dr. Deise Maria Fontana Capalbo
Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa)
Rodovia SP 340 Km 127,5
Jaguariuna - SP
Brazil, 19820000
Phone:+55 19 38678700
Fax:+55 19 38678740
Beneficiary country(ies)
  • Brazil
  • CBD Regional Groups - Latin America and the Caribbean
Type of initiative
Start Date
Donor(s) information
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative (Additional Information)
  • Organization: Embrapa: Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (linked to the Ministry of Agriculture)
  • Type of Organization: National government
Activity details
Description of the initiative
BioSeg is an initiative of researchers from Embrapa on environmental and food safety assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It has been driven by the urgency of having in-country generated biosafety results and the importance of carefully designed research protocols that can meet the confidence standards by decision makers and the general public. The network project, approved in September 2002, proposes to generate scientific information and protocols through the analysis of Embrapa's developed GM plants.

The environmental risk assessment team dedicates to research and training on the impact of GM plants on organisms (target and non-target, crop-associated biodiversity), above and below ground effects, considering the production system in use and the specific characteristics of agro-ecosystems. The food safety team develops research on topics such as substantial equivalence, composition, effects of processing, protein expression product of the novel DNA (effects on function, potential toxicity and potential allergenicity), and other aspects. Laboratory and field tests are being conducted under the Brazilian regulatory system.
Objective and main expected outcomes or lesson learned
The BioSeg initiative is aimed at building up on the existing capacity within Embrapa research centers in collaboration with well-known national and international experts from Universities and other Research Institutes, resulting in a network of laboratories and a multidisciplinary team.

*To generate scientific information and protocols through the analysis of Embrapa's developed GM plants

*To form capacity and expertise that will be available for further research, expert consultation, and training on risk assessment of GMOs. (The food and environmental safety of the following products are currently under evaluation: virus resistant bean, papaya and potato; herbicide tolerant soybean and insect resistant cotton).

Main outcomes
*Three courses - already applied (two in 2005, one in 2006) - number of professionals attending: circa 70 people involving regulators, Ph. D. students, Embrapa Researchers, decision makers from Embrapa, extension service personal and one journalist.

*Development of curricula and establishment of a multidisciplinary group of teachers. Additionally, The BioSeg Project developed a strong collaboration with the GMO ERA Project and participated in the development of the GMO Risk Assessment Teaching Tools and the formation of the Brazil Expert Teaching Team.

Lessons learned
"Good practices":

*Good practices in coordination - organization of a Steering Committee which involves one expert acting in each of the key issues to be developed within the curricula or the capacity building courses;

*Good practices in collaboration - To involve in the core group, teachers and researchers in such a balance that they could improve the teaching tools (pedagogical issues) and at the same time to include experimental results of local interest.

*The training programs should involve Universities and teachers that will carry on and insert biosafety issues/ knowledge into regular long-term courses and curricula. Priority should be given in expanding the capacity in risk assessment research and capacity building to other Latin American countries, with an emphasis on training the trainers.

*BioSeg had the opportunity to assist a broad collaboration with other international projects, thus being able to leverage the allocated funds by collaboration which resulted in a substantial contribution to biosafety capacity building in Brazil and generating scientific knowledge and information that supports the country's regulatory framework.

Biosafety Lessons learned:

*The courses offered by local experts and focused on regional experience and needs attained confidence by participants from different public institutions, regulatory bodies and students. For sustainability of the capacity building network, like the one being developed by BioSeg at Embrapa, can strengthen the consideration of critical problems, addressing them with greater confidence, to predict potential positive and negative environmental and food safety impacts.

General recommendations for enhancing biosafety capacity building efforts

*Projects on capacity building in other subjects related to some extent to biosafety should use the expertise to integrate their curricula.

*Creation of a core expert group for a long term training project as a tool to ensure the sustainability of training programs.
General thematic area(s)
  • Institutional capacity
  • Human resources capacity development and training
  • Risk assessment and other scientific and technical expertise
  • Scientific, technical and institutional collaboration at subregional, regional and international levels
Additional Information
Additional Information
PROJECT Executive Committee: Deise M. F. Capalbo, Marília R. Nutti, Mônica C. Amâncio, Edson Watanabe, Eliana M.G. Fontes, Edison Sujii, André N. Dusi, Paulo E. de Melo, Josias C. Faria, Murillo Lobo Jr., Paulo E. Meissner, Jorge L. Loyola Dantas, Mariângela Hungria, Iêda C. Mendes

Other collaborating organizations
FINEP / Biotechnology Fund (financial agency linked to the Ministry of Science and Technology)

Ongoing collaboration:

• GMO-ERA project
• LAC Biosafety - World Bank funded project "multilateral" - Brasil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru
• Agrofuturo Project (funded by IADB)
• University of Viçosa
• University of São Paulo - ESALQ
• University of Minas Gerais
• Rural University of Rio de Janeiro