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International Seed Testing Association
International Seed Testing Association
Richtiarkade 18
8304 Wallisellen, CH
+41 44 838 60 00
ista.office@ista.ch
International Seed Testing Association

Information Platform of GM Seeds

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

    Links to external websites are provided to guide the ISTA member laboratories to find information about GM events and the analytical tests available. ISTA has verified that the sides contain relevant information, but does not verify the exactitude of the information in external websites. In addition the availability of information, data or analytical test on a particular website does not always confer freedom to use this, in particular for fee-for-service laboratories. ISTA encourage the member laboratories to always verify the accuracy of information on each website and to ensure that they hold all necessary licenses and permission to use the information contained.

    Biotradestatus

    Biotradestatus is a website collecting information regarding the actual commercial status of many agricultural biotechnology products (currently commercialized/date of last seed sales/never-commercialized). The information is provided and updated by the companies that have developed the GM events listed in the database. Users of the database must be aware, however, that other companies, organizations, or institutions may have developed or commercialized other products not included in this listing.

    Biosafety Clearing House

    The Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) is a mechanism set up by the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to facilitate the exchange of information on Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) and assist the Parties to better comply with their obligations under the Protocol. Global access to a variety of scientific, technical, environmental, legal, and capacity-building information is provided in the six official languages of the UN.  Click on “Finding information” and “LMOs, Genes or Organisms” to find more information.

    ISAAA GMO Approval Database

    ISAAA presents an easy-to-use database of Biotech/GM crop approvals for various biotechnology stakeholders. It features the Biotech/GM crop events and traits that have been approved for commercialization and planting and/or for import for food and feed use with a short description of the crop and the trait.  Entries in the database are sourced principally from the Biotechnology Clearing House of approving countries and from country regulatory websites.

    Further description of transgenic events can be obtained also from Patent databases (United States Patent and Trademark Office; European Patent Office) if Patent N. is known.

  • Analytical Methods

    Links to external websites are provided to guide the ISTA member laboratories to find information about GM events and the analytical tests available. ISTA has verified that the sides contain relevant information but does not verify the exactitude of the information on external websites. In addition, the availability of information, data, or analytical test on a particular website does not always confer freedom to use this, in particular for fee-for-service laboratories.
    ISTA encourages the member laboratories to always verify the accuracy of the information on each website and to ensure that they hold all necessary licenses and permission to use the information contained.

    International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

    The ISO Standard methods for the detection of genetically modified organisms and derived products (published or at some stage under development) can be found on the internet site of the International Organization for Standardization. Put in the search window "genetically modified organisms", choose as option "standards" and then press "go".

    The CropLife International Detection Methods Database

    CropLife International is a global federation representing the plant science industry and a network of regional and national associations in 91 countries. The plant biotechnology industry made its detection methods for commercialized biotech-derived products — and related materials and information — available in an online and searchable database.

    GMO Methods Database of the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the EU Commission

    Analytical methods (PCR and protein-based assays) for the detection and quantification of GMOs can be found searching the "GMO Methods Database" of the Joint Research Center of the EU Commission. The database has been designed to allow direct and user-friendly access to information regarding methods of GMO analysis. The data reported in this database have been published in peer review journals or in reports from collaborative studies that are available in the public domain.

  • Statistical tools

    A collection of statistical tools to assist ISTA members in their routine work and method development and validation:

    • SeedcalcStack9
    • SeedCalc 8
    • Qualstat
    • ISO 5725

    You may download these files and use them freely from the Statistics Committee here.

    General background information on seed testing procedures can be obtained in ISTA Handbook on Statistics in Seed Testing.

  • Reference Materials

    Reference materials for quality control in GMO analysis can be obtained from different sources.

    EU Commission JRC’s Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) – Developments, produces, and distributes certified reference materials (CRMs) for the analysis of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Certified reference materials are provided also by the American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), a global forum that promotes the exchange of information among those with a professional interest in the science and technology of fats, oils, surfactants, and related materials.

  • GMO Committee

    Learn more: ISTA GMO Committee

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