Special Issue "Detection and Safety Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms"


A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Toxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Virginia Garcia-Cañas
Laboratory of Foodomics (CIAL), National Research Council of Spain (CSIC), Nicolás Cabrera 9, 28049, Madrid, Spain
Website: http://www.cial.uam-csic.es/pagperso/foodomics/
E-Mail: virginia.garcia@csic.es
Interests: Food analysis; Foodomics; Transcriptomics; Genomics; Proteomics; Metabolomics; Nutrigenomics; GMO analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since its early applications more than three decades ago, genetic engineering has become one of the principal technological advances in modern biotechnology. The rapid progress of this technology has opened new opportunities to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are used to grow GM crops for the production of food, feed, etc. However, public attention to the use of genetic engineering in the production of GMOs has been constantly growing since its beginning. The main controversial issues focus on four areas, namely, potential harm to human health, environmental concerns, and concerns related to ethical and patent issues.

After several years of intense debate, regulations on different aspects regarding GMOs, including risk assessment, marketing, labeling, and traceability have been established in many countries. In order to verify compliance with the requirements imposed by the legislation, appropriate analytical tools have been developed and validated for the rapid detection, identification and accurate quantification of approved and unapproved GMOs in food and feed. However, the variety of authorized and unauthorized GMOs and the extensive areas where they are cultivated are steadily increasing around the globe, making their detection more challenging. In consequence, there remains a demand for innovative analytical procedures able to cope with the increasingly growing number of novel GMOs in a cost-effective and rapid way.

Safety evaluation of GMO-derived foods is based on the comparative analysis between the GMO and its conventional counterpart in terms of allergenicity, toxicity, nutrients, etc. Also, the study of potential unintended alterations, defined as those effects that fall beyond the primary expected effects of the genetic modification, has attracted much attention in recent years. As they are unpredictable, unintended effects are considered as a source of uncertainty that might pose health risks. Although their detection is challenging, different analytical approaches, including targeted analysis and the more recent profiling strategies based on omics techniques, have been developed in recent years. In spite of these developments, more robust, reliable and integrative approaches that facilitate comprehensive or global compositional studies to effectively investigate safety and quality aspects of GMOs are lacking. In this context, appropriate holistic strategies such as foodomics are promising approaches to tackle the high level of complexity in the study of GMOs.

A special issue devoted to Detection and Safety Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences is thus timely and well-grounded. All manuscripts furthering advanced methodologies for the analysis of GMOs in food and feed samples are welcome. Of particular interest would be those works that focus on the development and application of high-throughput technologies that allow cost-effective, rapid and/or multi-targeted GMO analysis. Studies based on omics profiling and foodomics, aimed at investigating safety and quality issues are also called for.

Dr. Virginia Garcia-Cañas
Guest Editor


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  • genetically modified organisms
  • transgenic food
  • molecular methods
  • unintended effects
  • foodomics
  • DNA analysis
  • safety assessment
  • omics technologies

Published Papers (2 papers)

by , , , , , ,  and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(9), 15188-15209; doi:10.3390/ijms150915188
Received: 17 June 2014; in revised form: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (1909 KB) | Supplementary Files

by , , , ,  and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(9), 15109-15121; doi:10.3390/ijms150915109
Received: 11 July 2014; in revised form: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 18 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (1108 KB) | Supplementary Files

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Inferring biosafety affairs by some substantial equivalent assays on genetically modified broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) for postharvest amelioration
Authors: Mao-Sen Liu 1, Miau-Hwa Ko 2, Hui-Chun Li 1, Shwu-Jen Tsai 3, Ying-Mi Lai 1, You-Ming Chang4, Min-Tze Wu5 and Long-Fang O. Chen 1,*
Affiliation: 1 Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei, 11529, Taiwan; E-Mails: d89226001@ntu.edu.tw (M.S.L.); ayamama@gate.sinica.edu.tw (H.C.L.); ymlai@gate.sinica.edu.tw (Y.M.L.); ochenlf@gate.sinica.edu.tw (L.F.O.C.)
2 Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan; E-Mails: mhko@mail.cmu.edu.tw (M.H.K.)
3 Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Chiayi Agricultural Experiment Branch, Chiayi 60044, Taiwan; E-Mail: SJTsai@tari.gov.tw (S.J.T.)
4 Department of Biotechnology, Transworld University, Douliu Yunlin 640, Taiwan; E-Mail: ymchang@mail.twu.edu.tw (Y.M.C.)
5 Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Wufeng, Taichung 41362, Taiwan, Address; E-Mail: wu@tari.gov.tw (M.T.W.)
Abstract: Previously, we showed that agrobacterial isopentenyltransferase (ipt) transgenic broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) with yield comparable to the commercial varieties are improved in the shelf life because of the molecular protections. Some substantial equivalent assays was fulfilled on inbred lines of this genetically modified (GM) broccoli to evaluate whether the transgene exerts any unintended changes. We comprehensively analyzed the nutritional, chemical and mineral ingredients, anti-nutrient and protein-profiling changes in ipt-transgenic broccoli as well as preliminarily assessment of their safety by feeding mice. We observed a significant increase in carbohydrate and decrease in magnesium content in an ipt-transgenic–independent manner whereas a significant decrease in crude fat content in an inbreeding-dependent manner. The level of the anti-nutrient, glucosinolates, increased slightly in an inbreeding-dependent manner. The gel-based proteomics showed more than 50 specific protein spots/species in ipt-transgenic broccoli at harvest and after cook; one-third of these proteins showed homology to potential allergens that also play an important role in plant defensing against stresses and senescence. The ipt-transgenic broccoli lines showed variation in composition of these potential allergenic proteins. Mice fed doses of ipt-transgenic broccoli mimicking the 120 g/day of broccoli eaten by a 60-kg adult showed normal growth and immune systems.

Title: Health status and potential uptake of transgenic DNA by Japanese quail fed diets containing genetically modified plant ingredients over 10 generations
Authors: A. Korwin-Kossakowska1, K. Sartowska1, G. Tomczyk2 and G.A. Kleter3
Affiliation: 1 Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Polish Academy of Sciences Jastrzebiec,
Postepu 1, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland
2 National Veterinary Research Institute, Partyzantów 57, 24-100 Puławy, Poland
3 RIKILT Wageningen UR, PO Box 230, 6700AE Wageningen, The Netherlands
Abstract: The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of genetically modified ingredients (soya bean meal and maize) used in poultry diets on chosen aspects of bird health status and potential accumulation of transgenic DNA in eggs, breast muscle and internal organs. In the experiment, ten generations of Japanese quails were subject to three different diets: two containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs – Roundup Ready soya bean or MON 810 maize) and one GMO-free control diet, with each diet being fed to parallel groups. A total number of 8438 young healthy quail chicks were used in the course of the trial. Bird performance traits were monitored along the trial until 16 weeks of age in all animals. In 17–week-old animals of each generation, health examination took place on 3 females and 3 males from each group including clinical status, as well as post-mortem necropsy and histological organ evaluation. For the purpose of transgenic DNA detection, samples were taken from egg germinal shields and selected carcase tissues (breast muscle, heart, liver, gizzard, duodenum, spleen, and kidney) from 12 females and 3 males per group in each of the ten generations. A molecular screening method (PCR amplification) was used to detect CaMV 35S promoter and nos terminator DNA in the collected samples.
Health status evaluation of quails did not indicate the existence of pathological changes caused by pathogens, environment or nutritional factors. Minor deviations from the physiological condition of individual birds, observed in each group, could be the result of individual susceptibility to environmental pressure in high-production conditions. These deviations were random and had no connection with experimental factor. Molecular analyses results showed no presence of modified DNA in evaluated samples of meat, eggs, other edible and non-edible important organs (altogether 3330 samples).
According to the obtained results, we concluded that there was no negative effect of the use of GM soya bean meal or maize with regard to bird health status or to the presence of transgenic DNA in the final consumer product.
Keywords: Japanese quail; GMO; soya bean; maize; health status; food safety; DNA retention; multi-generational study

Last update: 5 May 2014

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