As more governments across the globe start requiring food producers to label products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or even restricting the products’ sale, analytical chemists have raced to develop better methods to detect the presence of GMOs. A new microarray-based technique can screen raw foods for nearly all current GMOs on the market. Despite the new method’s comprehensive range, some experts warn that it is a long way from widespread use.
Leading scientific and international bodies such as the World Health Organization say current GMOs pose no greater risk for human consumption than conventional foods do. But public skepticism has prompted dozens of nations, such as France and Japan, to enact labeling laws and other restrictions for GMOs. To help them enforce these new laws, regulators need tools to identify DNA from the engineered organisms.
Current methods mainly rely on polymerase chain reaction to selectively copy known engineered genes to increase the ease of detection on DNA microarrays. But these methods can test only a small number of different DNA samples at a time and can’t screen for all GMOs on the market.
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