Since the first introduction of genetically engineered (GE) plants, one of the major concerns has been their
potential effects on non-target organisms and ecosystem services. We focused in this study on the earthworm species
Lumbricus terrestris as important ecosystem engineer and studied its performance when feeding on GE antifungal wheat.
We compared litter consumption, weight change and mortality of individuals feeding on GE wheat with either specific
resistance against powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis) or unspecific resistance against fungi via chitinase and glucanase
expression with individuals feeding on non-GE wheat or other conventional crops. We did not find detrimental direct or
indirect effects of GE wheat on L. terrestris and overall L. terrrestris tended to cope even better with GE wheat varieties.
Concluding from our experiment the transgene products do not harm the soil key species L. terrestris and ecosystem
services like decomposition, organic matter turnover and nutrient cycling are unlikely to be affected detrimentally.
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