Special Issue "Detection and Safety Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2014).
Interests: molecular nutrition; gut microbiota metabolism; metagenomics; next-generation sequencing; bioinformatics
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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
Manuscript Submission Information
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- genetically modified organisms
- transgenic food
- molecular methods
- unintended effects
- DNA analysis
- safety assessment
- omics technologies