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GM trait testing including the detection, identification and quantification of GM seeds is a relatively new area of seed quality testing that ISTA laboratories have become involved in.

A new chapter to the ISTA Rules was adopted at the ISTA Ordinary Meeting 2013 in Antalya, Turkey, and came into effect on January 01, 2014. This chapter (Chapter 19) gives guidance to the laboratories on acceptable testing processes and analytical procedures for the testing of GM seed.

In addition a Handbook on Testing for GM Traits is under preparation.

Due to the complexity of GM trait testing, the approach adopted by ISTA to ensure reliability and accuracy of results all over the world, when testing seeds for specific traits, differs from the traditional standardised methodology used when testing other seed quality attributes.  It is founded on a Performance Based Approach under which laboratories are free to choose the methods they use with the ISTA International Rules for Seed Testing setting minimum requirements for the performance of laboratories carrying out such tests.
With the establishment of the Performance Based Approach it is expected that ISTA Member Laboratories may demonstrate their competence in GM trait testing  to provide accurate and reproducible test results. Performance in the ISTA Proficiency Tests is an important part of this.

This information platform should give you all necessary information regarding the ISTA Performance Based Approach and includes additional links to technical information provided by ISTA and external sources: 

Transgenic event descriptions
Analytical methods
Statistical tools
Reference materials
ISTA accreditation for GM trait(s) 
ISTA GMO Committee
It aims to provide useful information for all laboratories:
  • who are performing tests on GM traits in seeds
  • who are participating in ISTA Proficiency Tests on GMO Testing
  • who want to become ISTA-accredited for testing for GM traits in seeds.


Latest Issue of Seed Testing International

STI 162 October 2021
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Rules 2021 available online

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Flower Seed Testing Handbook 2nd Edition

Available now
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ISTA Reference Pest List

ISTA Reference Pest List
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Seed Science and Technology

Volume 48 released
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