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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods. Cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops has increased significantly around the globe over the last decade. One of the objectives for developing plants based on GM organisms is to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides. However, most national authorities consider that specific assessments are necessary for the safety of GM foods. Specific systems have been set up for the rigorous evaluation of GM organisms and GM foods relative to both human health and the environment.  The new national GMO labeling law signed by President Obama is also increasing demand for GMO testing. GMO testing confirms the identity and nature of the product at every step along the supply chain and assures compliance with import or labeling regulations for genetically modified food and feed. The safety assessment of GM foods generally focuses on: Direct health effects (toxicity); potential to provoke allergic reaction (allergenicity); specific components thought to have nutritional or toxic properties; the stability of the inserted gene; nutritional effects associated with genetic modification; any unintended effects which could result from the gene insertion.
As an analytical testing company with extensive experience in genetically modified testing, the common method we use for genetically modified testing is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Alfa Chemistry can provide incredible service and credible testing results for our clients.
The main issues of concern for human health are:
As a matter of principle, the transfer of genes from commonly allergenic organisms to non-allergic organisms is discouraged unless it can be demonstrated that the protein product of the transferred gene is not allergenic.
Gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health.
The migration of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild (referred to as "outcrossing"), as well as the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security.
Alfa Chemistry provides genetically modified testing service for the following crops: