BioGenetics Lab, Inc

DNA & Protein Genotype Profiling Service

DNA GMO Testing

About DNA GMO Testing of Seed, Grain & Food.

During the past couple of decades, molecular methods have been developed to clone genes and transform or transfer them into living organisms, including plants and animals resulting in what we commonly call Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetically Enhanced Organisms (GEOs).

In plants, particular genes have been identified, cloned and transferred into particular parental lines that have then been used as gene donors or carriers in backcross breeding programs. New inbred lines or parental lines often referred to as Genetically Modified Lines (GML) are then used in the development and production of Genetically Enhanced Hybrids (GEH) or Genetically Enhanced Products (GEP) that are then purchased by farmers and used for production of grain or plants for use in animal or human feed or food.

Thus, a processed food manufacturer wants to demonstrate that a food product does or does not contain GMO such as Starlink (Bt) protein in corn or the Roundup (RR) transgene in corn or soybeans. An organic farmer wants to provide evidence that the seed being sold to him or the grain that he is producing and marketing has not been genetically engineered. A breeder wants to verify that a seed or an animal contains the intended genetic modification(s) that will result in a value-added product.

A researcher wants to profile and identify a newly developed line for protection purposes. A seed company wants to ensure that it is producing and marketing pure inbred or hybrid seed. A fish hatchery wants to verify that its salmon or trout are free of Myxobolus cerebralis which causes whirling disease. A rancher wants to verify parent/offspring relationships of his animals. What do all of these have in common? They can all be satisfied with molecular genetic screening performed by BioGenetics Lab using either protein or DNA based technology.

At the present time, there are essentially two laboratory methods being used to verify the presence of GMO/GEO in seeds, plants, food ingredients, finished food products, and other commercial commodities or products important to agriculture production and marketing.

ELISA protein antibody tests are being used primarily to help farmers and elevators separate their GMO grain lots from non-GMO grain lots. Protein strip tests and ELISA tests are preferred for these types of applications because they allow relatively rapid turnaround times, and they require a relatively small investment in equipment and personnel. However, they do have some disadvantages that tend to limit their use. For example, ELISA or strip assays are limited to protein of specific events, which often times are not readily available. Thus, strip tests and ELISA tests are not useful for detecting “any GMO” in a commodity or product.

DNA tests using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) technology are also used to make decisions concerning storage or separating grain lots, but more often are used for breeding, production and marketing decisions involving seed, grain, food ingredients, and finished food products. DNA/PCR methods are more sensitive, accurate, and robust and are generally considered to be the preferred method for detecting “any GMO”. As long as appropriate protocols, samples, and sample sizes are used, false positive or false negative results are extremely rare events.