Current perspectives on genetically modified crops and detection methods

Madhu Kamle, Pradeep Kumar, Jayanta Kumar Patra, Vivek K Bajpai
3 Biotech 2017, 7 (3): 219
Genetically modified (GM) crops are the fastest adopted commodities in the agribiotech industry. This market penetration should provide a sustainable basis for ensuring food supply for growing global populations. The successful completion of two decades of commercial GM crop production (1996-2015) is underscored by the increasing rate of adoption of genetic engineering technology by farmers worldwide. With the advent of introduction of multiple traits stacked together in GM crops for combined herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, drought tolerance or disease resistance, the requirement of reliable and sensitive detection methods for tracing and labeling genetically modified organisms in the food/feed chain has become increasingly important. In addition, several countries have established threshold levels for GM content which trigger legally binding labeling schemes. The labeling of GM crops is mandatory in many countries (such as China, EU, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Chile, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand), whereas in Canada, Hong Kong, USA, South Africa, and Argentina voluntary labeling schemes operate. The rapid adoption of GM crops has increased controversies, and mitigating these issues pertaining to the implementation of effective regulatory measures for the detection of GM crops is essential. DNA-based detection methods have been successfully employed, while the whole genome sequencing using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies provides an advanced means for detecting genetically modified organisms and foods/feeds in GM crops. This review article describes the current status of GM crop commercialization and discusses the benefits and shortcomings of common and advanced detection systems for GMs in foods and animal feeds.

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