Detection Methods Of Genetically Modified Organisms Biology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The main reasons for testing GMOs: is to fulfil the labelling legislations, and to satisfy consumers requirements. Detection methods are divided into three main levels (Eurofins n.d.) , as shown below:

1- Screening: this used to examine in general if a product is produced by GM technology or not. The result will be occurring in a short time and cost-effective.

2- Identification: by this way one can identify the type of GM crop or products, kinds of transfers of genes and also know if the product has an authorisation in the country or not.

3- Quantification: in this level contains GM varieties will be shown. Then it will be evaluated with the Regulation to determine the amount of each GM ingredients individually (BCIL n.d.; Eurofins n.d.).

Generally speaking, GM products can be screened by biochemical implements. The methods used to detect GMOs can be either quantitative (the amount of GMO in the product) or qualitative (types of GMOs) as shown in figure 1.


Figure 1: Detection methods used to detect GMOs in foods

Source: (BCIL n.d.)

Researches have recorded progress in both protein-based and DNA-based methods in order to use as a detection method for production which are produced from GMOs or include ingredients from GMOs (Kim et al. 2010), as shown bellow:

Protein detection method: there are a great number of proteins in each cell. In order to isolate the specific protein from mixing group there is the need to isolate one protein from the others. This process can be done by ''seize (1-D electrophoresis) or in two dimensions by overall charge and size (2-D electrophoresis), followed by a suitable detection method''. These approaches, however, is not suitable for routine test. In General, identifying specific proteins can be done by using antibodies with some preparation required (Griffith et al. 2002).

DNA detection method: PCR method can be used as a method for detecting different kinds of GMOs, such as micro-organisms, potatoes, tomatoes and different types of maize. In this way the product-specific PCR depends on the allocated gene for screening, ''Detection limits are in the range of 20 mpg. to 10 mg of target DNA and 0.0001% to 1% of the mass fraction of the GMO'' (ILSI 1999).

1.6 Labelling Legislation of Genetically Modified Organisms

Nowadays, people tend to be more aware about GM products because it is not clear that this product is safe or not. So that, it is consumers' right to know what they eat. This means that GM products should be labelled (Bodiguel and Cardwell 2010). Labelling legislation and trade have different requirements depending on the country (Griffiths et al. 2002).

There are many regulations and legislations have been produced about GMOs by different communities and organizations, for example EU legislations have been produced from the beginning of the 1990s. The EU legislation on GMOs aimed at protecting the health of European people, keep the environment clean and to ensure the safety of GMOs movement in whole EU countries (EU 2007).

A recent questionnaire has been done by the Consumers Association, and shows that 94% of the UK consumers interested in non-GMO products and they are asking for labelling GM products (SAOS 2002).

In the EU, the product must be displayed and mentioned on the label if the food includes (GMOs) or if there is any ingredient comes from genetically modified organisms. In order to cover all genetically modified foods and animal feed in EU member States, regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 has been produced. According to this legislation, foodstuffs like flour, glucose syrups and oils have to be displayed provided that they are coming from GM as a source or not. While products come with the technology of genetically engineered, such as cheese with GM enzymes, and also animal products such as eggs, milk and meat are not required to be labelled (FSA 2013).

The table 1, includes examples about requirement rules for labelling genetically engineered products according to (FSA 2013) the European Commission (EC) legislation No. 1829/2003:

Table 1: Examples of labelling requirements under EC Regulation No. 1829/2003 for

authorized GMO (Updated April 2008)

GMO type

Hypothetical examples

Labelling required?

GM plant



GM seed

Maize seeds


GM food

Maize, soybean, tomato


Food produced from GMOs

Maize flour, highly refined soya oil, glucose syrup from maize starch


Food from animals fed GM animal feed

Meat, milk, eggs


Food produced with help from a GM enzyme

Cheese, bakery products produced with the help of amylase


Food additive/flavoring produced from GMOs

Highly filtered lecithin extracted from GM soybeans used in chocolate


Feed produced from GMO

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)


GMM used as a food ingredient

Yeast extract


Alcoholic beverages which contain a GM ingredient

Wine with GM grapes


Products containing GM enzymes where it is acting as an additive or performing functions


GM feed



Feed produced from a GMO

Corn gluten feed, soybean meal


Food containing GM ingredients that are sold in catering establishments

Yes (labelling is required under EC Regulation 1829/2003).

Source: (FSA 2013).

1.7 Conclusion

As outlined above, nowadays, food safety and quality is a main interest. Therefore, genetically modified products or foods have become a controversial topic in many different countries all over the world, and there is a lot of discussion about it (Galimberrti et al. 2013). Due to the fact that GMOs have been playing very essential role in many different fields such as agriculture, biofuels, biomaterials and pharmaceutical sciences. In the field of agriculture GMOs have many benefits for both producers and customers because GMO crops have many specifications, such as lower price, high nutritional value, and it can be kept for a long time.

On the other hand, people tend to take into account that the consumption of genetically modified because it is thought that GMOs may cause many problems in terms of food safety. So the studies in GMO foods should be carried on to ensure that GMO products are safe and suitable for consumption. What one has to take into consideration is GMO product's labeling. People who are interested in GM products, say that it is the consumer's right to know what they eat. So that, labeling GM products will help consumers to decide which product they will choose (O'Fallon et al. 2007).