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Unintended effects and their detection in genetically modified crops

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD


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The commercialisation of GM crops in Europe is practically non-existent at the present time. The European Commission has instigated changes to the regulatory process to address the concerns of consumers and member states and to pave the way for removing the current moratorium. With regard to the safety of GM crops and products, the current risk assessment process pays particular attention to potential adverse effects on human and animal health and the environment. This document deals with the concept of unintended effects in GM crops and products, i.e. effects that go beyond that of the original modification and that might impact primarily on health. The document first deals with the potential for unintended effects caused by the processes of transgene insertion (DNA rearrangements) and makes comparisons with genetic recombination events and DNA rearrangements in traditional breeding. The document then focuses on the potential value of evolving "profiling" or "omics" technologies as non-targeted, unbiased approaches, to detect unintended effects. These technologies include metabolomics (parallel analysis of a range of primary and secondary metabolites), proteomics (analysis of polypeptide complement) and transcriptomics (parallel analysis of gene expression). The technologies are described, together with their current limitations. Importantly, the significance of unintended effects on consumer health are discussed and conclusions and recommendations presented on the various approaches outlined. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cellini F, Chesson A, Colquhoun I, Constable A, Davies HV, Engel KH, Gatehouse AMR, Karenlampi S, Kok EJ, Leguay J-J, Lehesranta S, Noteborn HPJM, Pedersen J, Smith M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Food and Chemical Toxicology

Year: 2004

Volume: 42

Issue: 7

Pages: 1089-1125

Print publication date: 01/07/2004

ISSN (print): 0278-6915

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6351

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2004.02.003

PubMed id: 15123383


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