Main research question/goal
How can we detect and recognize GMOs (in food and feed) that are not (yet) authorised in Europe? This research question of the GMODETEC project fits in the European ambition to build a powerful technical-experimental framework around GMO detection. The possibilities for the detection of non-authorised GMOs require knowledge of (1) the DNA sequence of relevant genetic modifications and (2) the composition and authorisation status of the GMO products on the market. Transgenic food products and feedstuffs put on the European market must comply with an extensive and complex legislation. A waterproof, intensive and continuously updated detection of unauthorised GMOs on the European market should prevent that this strict authorisation procedure is eroded or circumvented.Research approach
Depending on the knowledge available, we apply two complementary strategies for the detection of genetically modified (GM) material of unknown origin (including non-authorised GMOs) in food products and animal feed. In the first, we base our strategy on molecular analytical detection and we design specific analytical testing on the basis of known GMO DNA sequences. We make a comparative analysis of all currently available official DNA sequences of GMOs and develop PCR methods that detect common ("screening") transgenic sequences. We then identify and quantify the present transgenic material based on a mathematical model. In the second strategy we adapt the so-called "whole genome analysis" technology corresponding to the specificity of the GG in order to generate a quantitative "GMO passport" of a product. To do so, we base our analysis on systematically collected knowledge of GMO products in terms of composition and authorisation status, such that we can efficiently select potentially unauthorised, suspicious products.Relevance/Valorisation
There are two important benefits of this research. We have developed and further optimised a protocol for anchor-PCR fingerprinting. Also, we established (and fully developed) two smart-integrated alternative strategies to determine the composition of a GMO sample, including the detection and characterisation of non-authorised GMOs. That competence has brought us a step closer to our final destination, which is the development and optimisation of a so-called "GMO-passport" identification technology. The alternative strategies for the detection of unauthorised GMO have been made available through peer-reviewed papers.