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New technology capable of better detecting GMOs in food, animal feed and seeds

Sunday, July 21, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: GMOs, GMO detection, ddPCR

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(NaturalNews) European scientists have come up with a new technology that is allegedly better able to detect the presence of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in food, animal feed and seeds. As published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, a new study out of Slovenia explains how the new technology, known as Droplet Digital PCR, or ddPCR, works to improve GMO screening efforts in the more than 60 countries around the world that now require GMO labeling.

Even though the U.S. as a whole is not currently included among these proactive countries in need of effective GMO detection technologies, many individual American states are on the brink of passing their own GMO labeling laws, which means they too will require the technologies. And ddPCR appears to be not only more accurate than existing technologies, but also more cost effective.

"Droplet Digital PCR could replace or be a good alternative to qPCR, the current benchmark in GMO quantification," says Dr. Dany Morisset, lead author of the new study from Slovenia's National Institute of Biology.

The qPCR technology, which stands for real-time quantitative PCR, is apparently not all that effective at detecting low levels of GMO contamination, particularly when trying to quantify very small numbers of DNA targets or when DNA targets are embedded in complex matrices. ddPCR, on the other hand, possesses exceptional precision and accuracy, and is far less costly than another similar technology developed previously.

"Compared with the conventional qPCR assay, the ddPCR assay offered better accuracy at low target concentrations and greater tolerance to inhibitors found in matrices such as wheat flour and feed," explains a Eurekalert! announcement about the study.

You can view the complete study here:

Recent GMO wheat scandal highlights need for practical GMO screening technologies

Though the technology is still in the development phase, ddPCR as well as future GMO screening technologies will serve an important role in the fight to preserve the integrity of the global food supply. The recent GMO wheat scandal in Oregon, where vagrant GMO wheat was discovered growing in a commercial field in eastern Oregon, serves as proof that the biotechnology industry will stop at nothing to claim ownership of all food, and it is our responsibility to prevent this from happening.

You can read all about the GMO wheat scandal in Oregon here:

One way this can be accomplished is by fortifying our ability to identify the presence of GMOs in the food supply through improved GMO detection technologies. If Monsanto and its ilk continue to stonewall efforts to simply label GMOs at the retail level, then Americans will need to begin identifying and labeling GMOs themselves. And what better way to do this than with technologies that are able to pinpoint GMOs at the cellular level.

"We're interested in biodetection that needs to be performed outside of the laboratory," says Brian Cunningham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cunningham is currently involved in a project to develop hand-held detection technology that the average consumer can use to scan foods at the grocery store.

"Smartphones are making a big impact on our society -- the way we get our information, the way we communicate," he adds. "And they have really powerful computing capability and imaging ... They can detect molecular things like pathogens, disease biomarkers or DNA -- things that are currently only done in big diagnostic labs with lots of expensive and large volumes of blood."

You can read more about hand-held GMO detection technology by visiting:

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