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First comprehensive test to detect genetic modification in food

Date:
January 15, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
As the abundance of genetically modified (GM) foods continues to grow, so does the demand for monitoring and labeling them. The genes of GM plants used for food are tweaked to make them more healthful or pest-resistant, but some consumers are wary of such changes. To help inform shoppers and enforce regulations, scientists are reporting the first comprehensive method to detect genetic modifications in one convenient, accurate test.

As the abundance of genetically modified (GM) foods continues to grow, so does the demand for monitoring and labeling them. The genes of GM plants used for food are tweaked to make them more healthful or pest-resistant, but some consumers are wary of such changes. To help inform shoppers and enforce regulations, scientists are reporting in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry the first comprehensive method to detect genetic modifications in one convenient, accurate test.

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Li-Tao Yang, Sheng-Ce Tao and colleagues note that by the end of 2012, farmers were growing GM crops on more than 420 million acres of land across 28 countries. That's 100 times more than when commercialization began in 1996. But doubts persist about the potential effects on the environment and human health of these biotech crops, created by changing the plants' genes to make them more healthful or more able to resist pests. In response, policymakers, particularly in Europe, have instituted regulations to monitor GM products. Although researchers have come up with many ways to detect genetic modification in crops, no single test existed to do a comprehensive scan, which is where Yang and Tao come in.

They developed a test they call "MACRO," which stands for: multiplex amplification on a chip with readout on an oligo microarray. It combines two well-known genetic methods to flag about 97 percent of the known commercialized modifications, almost twice as many as other tests. It also can be easily expanded to include future genetically modified crops.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ning Shao, Shimeng Jiang, Miao Zhang, Jing Wang, Shujuan Guo, Hewei Jiang, CHengxi Liu, Xing Ling, Dabing Zhang, Litao Yang, Shengce Tao. MACRO: A Combined Microchip-PCR and Microarray System for High-throughput Monitoring of Genetically Modified Organisms. Analytical Chemistry, 2013; 131222110642000 DOI: 10.1021/ac403630a

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "First comprehensive test to detect genetic modification in food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113518.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, January 15). First comprehensive test to detect genetic modification in food. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113518.htm
American Chemical Society. "First comprehensive test to detect genetic modification in food." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113518.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

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