SeqApp Project: Sequencing strategies and their applicability for the molecular characterization of current and next generation GMOs

11/2020 – 11/2023

SeqApp advances knowledge on molecular characterization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the context of European regulations. It aims to have this knowledge help decision- makers in developing and updating biotechnology regulations to meet societal challenges of promoting environmental conservation and effective food-choices. Genetic engineering techniques have evolved in the past decades to the development of CRISPR technologies capable of targeting genetic sequences in the genome of virtually any species. However, it is anticipated that the current European Union regulatory requirements might not be adequate for the identification of unintended changes in next generation GMOs due to the complexity of genomic and epigenomic modifications. SeqApp investigates how different genetically modified GM techniques outcomes impact the identification of genetic modifications, what parameters are necessary to generate effective, reliable and operational GMO molecular characterization, and how new and alternative methods can improve current risk assessment requirements in EU. For proof of concept, we will use a model system based on CRISPR/Cas9 modified soybean lines for testing the proposed molecular profiling analysis. In addition, the project aims at developing a flexible multicriteria decision analysis model (MCDA matrix) suitable for the evaluation and comparison of a variety of analytical methods. SeqApp will build on an existing BfN-funded project called “GMOmics: omics techniques as useful tools for addressing emerging gaps in GMO risk assessment” and find synergies where appropriate with the Research Council of Norway newly funded project “FOODPRINT: traceability and labelling of gene-edited products in the context of the food chain”, as well as other projects at GenØk. Besides technical experts, also field-related, application-oriented scientists will actively participate in determining the user requirements for the methods to be applied, in the light of current and future European regulations.

Principal Investigator: Sarah Zanon Agapito-Tenfen

Partners: Federal University of Santa Catarina/Brazil & GenØk Centre for Biosafety/Norway

SeqApp Project (FKZ 3520 84 0200) was funded by The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) – 350,000 € award over three years

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