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Characterization of Genetically Modified Maize in Weakly Contaminated Seed Batches and Identification of the Origin of the Adventitious Contamination

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So far, relatively few genetically modified plants (GMPs) have been planted in the European Union (EU). However, in France, seed batches weakly contaminated by unidentified GM materials have recently been detected among commercial maize seeds (14 seed batches positive out of 447 analyzed). We have developed a 3-step approach to precisely identify the genetic modifications detected in such maize seed batches. First, to isolate GMPs derived from the contaminated seed batches, 10 000 maize seeds of each batch were planted and screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on 100-plant batches, then on 10-plant subbatches, and finally, plant by plant. In a second step, specific identification of the individual GMPs was performed. Finally, to determine the origin of the contamination, each individual GMP was analyzed by simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The results showed that all batches were contaminated by few GM seeds, having a GM content <0.1%. Finally, 12 individual GMPs have been isolated from 17 plant pools that were tested positive either for P35-S and/or T-Nos. MON810 and T25 transformation events approved for cultivation in the EU were detected in 7 individual GMPs. The other seed batches were contaminated by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are not approved in the EU, including GA21 or the stacking MON810/T25. Presumable identification of T14 was also achieved following sequencing of 1 individual GMP. The data also showed that most of the seed batches were contaminated by several transformation events. Finally, analysis of SSR markers indicated that the contaminations were essentially due to cross-pollination in the seed production process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Agence Franaise de Scurit Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA), Laboratoire d'Etudes et de Recherches sur la Qualit des Aliments et sur les Procds Agro-Alimentaires (LERQAP), Unit EBA (Etude Molculaire des Contaminants Biologiques Alimentaires), 23 Avenue du Gnral De Gaulle, 94700 Maisons-Alfort, France. 2: GEVES, Laboratoire BioGEVES Domaine du MAGNERAUD, BP52, 17700 Surgres, France. 3: AFSSA, LERQAP, Unit EBA, 23 Avenue du Gnral De Gaulle, 94700 Maisons-Alfort, France.

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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