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Opening of Discussion [#6654]
Dear Forum Participants,
Once again I would like to thank you for your input into the previous online discussion on “Drafting an outline for capacity-building workshops on sampling, detection and identification of LMOs”. Your critical analysis of the draft outline was of great use and we appreciate your feedback and views on the matter.

With your input we are pleased to share with you an updated version of the draft outline of the training material (http://bch.cbd.int/detectionlabs/draft_workshop_outline_v2.docx?download) that will be used to conduct the capacity-building workshops on detection and identification of LMOs. This revised draft, integrates new elements from among the key issues that were previously discussed, such as the inclusion of a section on sampling strategies and specifying topics on method validation, etc.

In moving forward with the development of the draft outline of the training material, we would like to invite you to share and upload relevant didactic resources and references that can serve as a starting point for the development of the training material that will be used to conduct the capacity-building workshops.

The main objective of this compilation of didactic resources/materials is to use them as references in the development of our training material. While we already have a solid foundation to work from, specifically the “Compilation of tools and guidance on the detection and identification of LMOs” (http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/cpb_detection/toolsandguidance.shtml)  there are several topics that are mentioned in the draft outline of the training material for which additional information needs to be compiled, including materials on sampling strategies and statistical approaches that are used in the detection and identification of LMOs.

Furthermore, you are also invited to share your views regarding the target audience of the training material, as well as the capacity-building workshops.

• Should the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs  target a broader audience, such as policy makers, or focus only on building capacity at the laboratory level?
• What would be the most efficient method to build capacity amongst these different target groups?
• Should additional sections be included in the training material, focusing on the communication between policy and science?
• If so is there any additional specific information that would be needed?

The discussion will take place for the next two weeks and will close on 27 April at 1 a.m. GMT. Your views and feedback on the topics outlined above will be greatly appreciated. If possible, please post your comments during the early days of the discussion to foster a more lively debate building on the comments of one another.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions!
Kindest regards,
Dina
posted on 2015-04-12 21:14 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD
This is a reply to 6654 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6701]
Dear Forum Participants,

Further to my opening message, I would like to remind you that we have recently shared with you an updated version of the draft outline of the training material (http://bch.cbd.int/detectionlabs/draft_workshop_outline_v2.docx?download) that will be used to conduct the capacity-building workshops on detection and identification of LMOs.

As previously indicated, the main objective of this discussion is to compile of didactic resources/materials is to use them as references in the development of our training material, building upon the resources that are currently available through the “Compilation of tools and guidance on the detection and identification of LMOs” (http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/cpb_detection/toolsandguidance.shtml), with specific focus on compiling additional information on sampling strategies and statistical approaches that are used in the detection and identification of LMOs.

I am sharing with you some resources that were previously sent to us by our colleague, Ray Shillito, on the aforementioned topic of sampling as well as standards and guidelines as examples of the kind of information that would be useful in this compilation.

I hope you will be able to contribute to this discussion in the coming week and share your knowledge with us in order to contribute to the development of a through and comprehensive set of training materials.

Kindest regards
Dina

**References on Sampling**
• Sampling of grain and seed to estimate the adventitious presence of biotechnology-derived seeds in a lot. Freese et. al.. Ceareal Foods World  V60, No.1, 2015 (http://www.aaccnet.org/publications/Documents/CFW-60-1-0009-EP.pdf)

• Sampling for the Detection of Biotech Grains (http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/fgis/biotech/sample2.htm)

• Immunoassay as an Analytical Tool in Agricultural Biotechnology. GROTHAUS ET AL.: JOURNAL OF AOAC INTERNATIONAL VOL. 89, NO. 4, 2006 (http://www.aeicbiotech.org/WhitePapers/AEICproteinpaper_2006.pdf)

• Polymerase Chain Reaction Technology as Analytical Tool in Agricultural Biotechnology. LIPP ET AL.: JOURNAL OF AOAC INTERNATIONAL VOL. 88, NO. 1, 2005 (http://www.aeicbiotech.org/WhitePapers/polychnrctn.pdf)


**References on Standards and Guidelines**
• ISO/IEC 17025:2005 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories (http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=39883)

• ISO TC 34/SC 16 and their Standards for Molecular Biomarker Analysis (http://www.iso.org/iso/standards_development/technical_committees/other_bodies/iso_technical_committee.htm?commid=560239)
http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_tc_browse.htm?commid=560239)

• Codex CAC/CL 74-2010: guidelines on Performance and Validation of Methods (http://www.codexalimentarius.net/download/standards/11667/CXG_074e.pdf)

• EURL Definition of minimum performance requirements for analytical methods of GMO testing (http://gmo-crl.jrc.ec.europa.eu/doc/Min_Perf_Requirements_Analytical_methods.pdf)

• ISO 542:1990 - Oilseeds – Sampling (http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=4619)

• GIPSA Grain Inspection Handbook - Book I Grain Sampling (http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/Publications/fgis/handbooks/gihbk1_insphb.html)

• GIPSA Mechanical Sampling Systems Handbook (http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/publications/fgis/handbooks/mech_insphb.html)
posted on 2015-04-17 21:43 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD
This is a reply to 6701 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6718]
Thank you Dina for preparing a revised version of the draft workshop outline and the resources for didactical material as well.

I would like to share some of my views regarding the questions that have been also proposed for this round of discussion.

• Should the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs target a broader audience, such as policy makers, or focus only on building capacity at the laboratory level?

I believe that training and capacity building at the laboratory level is the key need and priority for developing countries. The possibility of including a broader audience (e.g. policy makers), where there are funds available, in training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs should comprise a non-technical format and this should be set within the context of policy (e.g. unintentional transboundary movements, illegal transboundary movements, maintaining zero tolerance etc.). Although the idea to include other groups is consistent with Article 23 of the Protocol, the first priority should still be capacity building at the laboratory level.

• What would be the most efficient method to build capacity amongst these different target groups?

Hands-on laboratory training along with an appropriate combination of lecture, discussion and laboratory exercises has been very effective for the many courses that have been organized by Genøk Center for Biosafety, Norway.

• Should additional sections be included in the training material, focusing on the communication between policy and science? If so is there any additional specific information that would be needed?

These are difficult questions to answer in the hypothetical. Once we have a more concrete training material and method/format identified, then specific proposals could be made. However, arguing for the moment that my suggestion of a format is accepted, then I would suggest regional training courses that comprise specific regional issues, the methods will likely be adapted by providing case-specific context, for instance, in the form of their national laws (i.e. threshold tolerance, etc).

Best regards,

sarah
posted on 2015-04-20 13:05 UTC by Ms. Sarah Agapito-Tenfen, Brazil
This is a reply to 6718 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6724]
Thank you Sarah for your input on the questions we proposed.

I encourage other participants to to also make their contributions to this forum prior to the end of this week, when the forum is scheduled to close.

Your input will form the basis of the work of the upcoming Workshop of the Network of Laboratories for the Detection and Identification of Living Modified Organisms and will help facilitate their deliberations on the development of the training material that will be used to conduct the regional capacity-building workshops on detection and identification of LMOs.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Kindest regards,
Dina
posted on 2015-04-21 21:29 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD
This is a reply to 6724 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6726]
Many thanks to Dina for Draft outline preparing and to Sarah for contribution to the discussion.
I am fully supporting Sarah`s opinion on the questions prepared to the discussion by Dina. I just would like to add that some regional trainings could be useful even at the laboratory level, because in some countries the international standards ISO for method validation, verification, Laboratory accreditation etc. could coexist with legislation and national standards in this field as well as with legislation on regional level. So sharing of the similar best practices of operation in this situation could be also helpful in establishing of LDGMOs or its proper operation in this environment.
I really appreciate that the part 6. «Introduction to the quality assurance/quality control standards» has been incorporated into the Draft because this material are directly related to accreditation and proper laboratory functioning. It seems to me that the presentation http://gmo-crl.jrc.ec.europa.eu/capacitybuilding/docsworkshops/SouthAfrica-Feb-2012/2012-02-08%20Method-verification.pdf could be one of the base for preparing training on part 6, as it clearly indicates the important questions(I don’t remember if it was incorporated as background material to the Technical Tools and Guidance for the Detection and Identification of LMOs). And it seems to me that within the scope of the part 6 it will be very good to consider relevant to this part estimation of the overall uncertainty, all the components that constitute the uncertainty, how to calculate and proper evaluate it during the process of method validation and method verification. JRC guidance as background https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/default/files/eur22756en.pdf. Also in this case I see that the best background material could be the case studies.
With best wishes, Galina.
posted on 2015-04-22 12:59 UTC by Dr. Galina Mozgova, Belarus
This is a reply to 6726 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6728]
First of all I would like to compliment Dina for compiling the draft outline for the content of training material on detection and identification of LMOs in a very comprehensive way. Though the outline content/module is very comprehensive but is heavily loaded with information, to me it appears there are two trainings in this module
1. Covering Section 1-4 which can be useful for policy makers, custom officials along with laboratory personnel
2. Section 5-7 totally laboratory  oriented would be useful for laboratory personnel
So now the first question is
• Should the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs target a broader audience, such as policy makers, or focus only on building capacity at the laboratory level?
As I mentioned earlier there can be three kind of training workshops
1. Covering Section 1-4 for policy makers, custom officials and other regulatory bodies
2. Covering all seven sections for laboratory personnel (it is going to be very high dose training)
3. Laboratory personnel can opt for two kind of trainings based on the role they are playing in their respective laboratories
(a) with Section 1-5
(b) Only Section 6-7 of Quality Management system in the laboratory

I happen to participate in the three day training Workshop conducted by Dr. Maddalena Querci and her group, JRC, Ispra  on Quality Management - ISO 17025 accreditation.
I am attaching its programme, this was really very useful training workshop with live assessments of the laboratories of JRC.

• What would be the most efficient method to build capacity amongst these different target groups?
As per my suggestion above, if we finalise the resource material for each module then based on the requirement these three target groups (policy makers/regulatory bodies, custom officials and Laboratory personnel) can be trained.

• Should additional sections be included in the training material, focusing on the communication between policy and science?
First three sections of this ouline are linking up communication between policy and science, so there is no need of additional section.
(edited on 2015-04-23 05:21 UTC by Ms. Gurinder Jit Randhawa)
posted on 2015-04-23 05:20 UTC by Ms. Gurinder Jit Randhawa, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources
This is a reply to 6728 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6729]
Dear colleagues,

I would like to thank Dina for the updated version of the document and guiding us for further discussions.

As per questions that were proposed I will give my reflection here:
• Should the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs  target a broader audience, such as policy makers, or focus only on building capacity at the laboratory level?
-I am also of the opinion as the colleagues also mentioned, that the targeted audience for this capacity building activity may be broader and involve not only laboratory people, but also policy makers, regulators, trade people and business, custom control, ecological, agricultural, food production and health care inspectorates, as well as academia/research, NGOs, educational sector etc. As the laboratory detection is one of a key element in decision making, monitoring system, import/export operations, identification of illegal or unintentional transboundary movement and release, low presence issue in food/feed security, and the ecological security system. The Biosafety institutional system of a country should be realized as a part of the general state information and security system.

• What would be the most efficient method to build capacity amongst these different target groups?
- a number of face-to-face training meetings, educational modules via BCH, a list of reference materials available, roster of experts in the field, study visits to reference laboratories, regional cooperation and trainings, system of distance learning, MS degree courses, manuals and agreed protocols available in national/regional languages, CDs etc. The JRC, GENOK, TAEX training courses in laboratory detection and identification are the very useful examples of the successful trainings courses offered during last years.

• Should additional sections be included in the training material, focusing on the communication between policy and science?

Communication and public information section would be welcomed to be included additionally in order to support the transparency and participative principles and also insure raising of specific professionalism and awareness of the civil sector and consumers.

• If so is there any additional specific information that would be needed?
- List of available laboratory networks and international/regional/national accredited centres/laboratories, with contact information and websites.

best regards,
Angela
MD
posted on 2015-04-23 12:23 UTC by Ms. Angela Lozan, Republic of Moldova
This is a reply to 6729 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6731]
Hello Dina,

... and thank you for the current forum. I would like to provide a short list of technical guidance and analytical methods from the ISO technical committee TC 34: food products/SC 16 Horizontal methods for molecular biomarker analysis (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/standards_development/list_of_iso_technical_committees/iso_technical_committee.htm?commid=560239). This committee is horizontal within ISO meaning that the methods are valid and may be useful outside of the scope of the ISO food products committee. TC 34/SC 16 guidance and methods are developed by an international group of experts. The work is verified and collaboratively validated against applicable harmonized standards such as ISO 5725. TC 34/SC 16 welcomes the interest of all international stakeholders. Here is information about a few of our applicable standards: ISO 21569:2005 (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=34614), ISO 21570:2005 (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=34615), ISO 21571:2005 (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=34616) , ISO 21572:2013 (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=51005) and ISO 24276:2006 (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=37125). In addition to these the TC 34/SC 16 portfolio contains methods for specific, biomarkers, terms and definitions for biomarker analysis.
posted on 2015-04-23 14:06 UTC by Dr. Michael Sussman, ISO TC 34/SC 16 Horizontal Methods for molecular biomarker detection
This is a reply to 6729 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6732]
Dear colleagues,

I agree with the recent statements that we need to carefully adjust the training workshops to specific target group. As described by Angela several different targeted audiences may need training concerning LMO. But as far as I understood we, as a network, are a discussion group of detection LABORATORIES.
From that point I would propose that we focus to discuss, which educational and training material as well workshops programs are required for this targeted group. So other groups (“policy makers, regulators, trade people and business, custom control, ecological, agricultural, food production and health care inspectorates, as well as academia/research, NGOs, educational sector”) should of course identify their specific need concerning the educational material required and develop their specific training programs, which definitely is different to LABORATORY training.
From my experience I would like to add another point which is crucial for the laboratory analysis: The strategy and plan used for sampling. Laboratory people perform the LMO testing and applying analytical strategies and methodologies as excellent they can. However, they receive a sample and are in most if not all cases not responsible how samples are taken and which sampling plan and statistical requirements are applied. Imagine seeds or commodities, and food/feed consisting of living organisms: How and what number of e.g. seeds are taken to be representative for the lot? How many fruits, vegetables etc. need to be taken from a lot? How to perform field sampling?
The sampling strategy and plan has a crucial effect on the outcome of the analysis and impact on detection of LMOs. Therefore, I would strongly propose to look for educational material and think about training workshops for the sampling strategies and the specifically targeted group.

For the detection laboratory receiving the sample that has been taken, a very nice ENGL guideline for the application of sample preparation procedures in GMO analysis was recently published (see https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/guidelines-sample-preparation-procedures-gmo-analysis).

Kind regards,
Lutz
posted on 2015-04-23 14:39 UTC by Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL)
This is a reply to 6654 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6734]
Dear Dina and colleagues of the Forum,

I appreciate preparations by the Secretariat.

Regarding the question on the target of the workshop, I believe that the content of the workshop should mainly focus on practices in the laboratory, but the workshop itself can be open to any people who are related to the detection and identification of LMOs, including policy makers. Because, if policy makers have sufficient knowledge on the detection and identification of LMOs, they will be able to understand a test result more easily, scientifically and correctly. As a consequence, laboratory person will be able to communicate with them more smoothly.

In light of above, I think the draft outline of training material is already efficient enough, and do not think additional sections are necessary.

BTW, this is not big problem but I would like to point out some errors - there are some broken links of references listed in the “Compilation of tools and guidance on the detection and identification of LMOs”. Judging from the broken links, there seems changes in the BCH server.  I think the Secretariat may be able to resolve this.

Best regards,
Ayako
posted on 2015-04-24 08:48 UTC by Ms. Ayako Yoshio, Japan
This is a reply to 6734 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6736]
Dear Dina and dear colleagues,
Thank you all for your active discussion.
I would like to share my thoughts on training activities. The main task of the testing laboratory is to provide reliable analysis result to the customer (ministry, inspection service, even privat company). I believe that the workshops, hands on training and training materials should primarily focus on laboratory personnel. We should not put too much burden on our shoulders trying to extend training activities to all stakeholders. If laboratory personnel will be well trained, they should be able to transfer their knowledge to relevant stakeholders. Speaking from experiences, stakeholders do change and training for e.g. inspectors must be repeated from time to time. As it has been already mentioned there are also national and regional components to be taken into account. Materials that will be prepared for training of laboratory personnel will probably be general and laboratories should be able to fine tune them to national/regional needs.
Best regards, Mojca
posted on 2015-04-24 10:20 UTC by dr Mojca Milavec, Slovenia
This is a reply to 6654 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6737]
I would like to add my thoughts to the questions posed:

• Should the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs  target a broader audience, such as policy makers, or focus only on building capacity at the laboratory level?

We must decide on a specific target audience.  The moment your target audience is too broad the specific content of the training will have to become more superficial as to accommodate for the different groups.  While there is overlap between what policy makers and scientists working in LMO detection labs should know, the focus for each target group should be different.  Policy makers do not want to know about PCR primer design or matrix specific extractions... A workshop that is not specific to each target group will not effectively build capacity...


• What would be the most efficient method to build capacity amongst these different target groups?

Either hold different workshops focussed on the needs of the different target groups or hold one super workshop with plenary sessions where common subject matter is covered and then split into parallel sessions specific to each target group.

• Should additional sections be included in the training material, focusing on the communication between policy and science?

That depends on what the focus group is.  This topic may be important for policy makers but is not relevant to the scientist performing LMO detection.

Regards
Chris
posted on 2015-04-24 11:19 UTC by Prof. Chris Viljoen, University of the Free State
This is a reply to 6654 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6744]
I was going through the resource material for GM Detection posted on the web page as Compilation of tools and guidance on the detection and identification of LMOs.
This is an excellent source of references at one stop, compiled by your group with the help of moderators of the following four themes
There are total 122 references:

1. Overview of available detection methods, including validated methods --51 references
2. Overview of available databases of methods, and screening matrices for the detection of living modified organisms --20 references
3. Minimum performance criteria for sample handling, extraction, detection and identification methodology --36 references
4. Experience and case studies on detection and identification 15 references
I have tried to download all references and make a folder for ready consultation it is a kind of mini library on different aspects of GM detection.
Now the problem came, while downloading I could not have access to 38 references out of total 122 references.
I am attaching a summary table where details of all references is mentioned all references which I could download I have put tick and where there was problem there I put cross.
Is there any possibility that we have access to these references also, I know it is not easy but it would be nice to have access to these references.
One way can be I am attaching the table if any of our participants of online discussion can share these references with us or there is some copyright problems of some journals etc.
posted on 2015-04-25 11:20 UTC by Ms. Gurinder Jit Randhawa, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources
This is a reply to 6731 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6745]
Thanks a lot for sharing this information about the ISO Standards. They are all paid documents, can these network of LMO Detection and Identification Laboratories can have free access to them, as most these laboratories are working for regulatory compliance in their respective countries.
posted on 2015-04-25 11:27 UTC by Ms. Gurinder Jit Randhawa, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources
This is a reply to 6654 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6746]
I would say that we should not worry a lot about the different stakeholders to be trained, this module is basically prepared for the lab. personnel, which is excellent, lot of thinking has gone in to prepare this. Other stakeholders can pick up the sessions of their choice and relevance to the work in their hands.
posted on 2015-04-25 11:30 UTC by Ms. Gurinder Jit Randhawa, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources
This is a reply to 6744 RE: List of references [#6748]
Dear Gurinder, Dina,

The AEIC website has been updated, which is why the papers referenced from this organization were not available.   Dina, please update the list of references from AEIC using the links on the the page with the training information at http://aeicbiotech.org/white-papers-training/.

Best regards,

Ray Shillito
posted on 2015-04-26 01:47 UTC by Dr Raymond Shillito, Bayer CropScience
This is a reply to 6654 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6749]
Thank you Dina for posting the resources I sent, and all for the good discussions.

It has been pointed out a few times that we need to be sure of the target audience and that the mandate of this forum is focused on the LABORATORY training.   The goals of any workshop should be clear and the agenda targeted appropriately.   If it is a technical workshop, which is what we are discussing here, there is an advantage to having policymakers present, with the expectation that they are going to learn about the technical side in order to advise their policy work.

One aspect that is difficult to incorporate into a laboratory-based training is sampling that occurs before the laboratory sample is received.  As expressed by Lutz, sampling is a key step in the process.  I have added some extra comments below on this issue.

• Should the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs target a broader audience, such as policy makers, or focus only on building capacity at the laboratory level?
- There are probably 2 audiences that can be targeted:
a) Laboratory leaders and policy makers
b) Technical staff in the laboratories

a) Parallel training of the laboratory leaders and the policy makers (group a) considering how sampling and testing interacts with the provisions of the protocol and world trade can be beneficial, and allow information from the laboratory heads to contribute to the broader policy discussions occurring in their countries.  In our AACCI workshops, we have found that there is an advantage to having this mixed audience.  It allows a beneficial interaction where each side gets to have more understanding of the other, and policy makers are then not asking the laboratories to do the impossible.  Thus it is advantageous to invite policy makers to the technical workshops.

b) Training of technical staff (group b), focused mainly on the technical aspects of the testing phase is more within the scope of this Network.   Even for this audience, it is important that they understand the context of their work.  Thus the introductory part at the beginning of workshops is therefore still important.

- The discussions of this Network clearly show that a lot of capacity building is needed at the laboratory level.   The mandate of this Network is to improve the competence of the LABORATORIES, and to try to do more would be stretching our already thin resources.  

Sampling:
- One item that is not usually discussed extensively with the laboratories is sampling, as the laboratories are not generally taking the bulk sample – it is provided as a laboratory sample. Sampling within the laboratories can have significant impacts on limits of detection and quantification, and uncertainty of the results.  It is not often well understood, and does need to be covered, from division of the laboratory sample through to sampling of the test portion.

- Capacity building on the application and limitations of sampling, especially with materials containing a low level of GM seeds/grain is particularly important for policy makers, and those who are physically taking the samples of materials, such as inspectors.  This training is a separate concern from the laboratory training, and not necessarily within the scope of this network of laboratories that has little practical experience in this area. 
For reference I attach an example of such training that was carried out by AACCI with ILSI and the Agriculture Ministry in Brazil last year.  A shorter one-day workshop was subsequently carried out in Peru and focused on sampling issues.

• What would be the most efficient method to build capacity amongst these different target groups?
- Training should be appropriate to the location.  It is wasteful to provide training on complex equipment that cannot be maintained in the circumstances in which the lab is operating.  Use of simple approaches can be the most effective and useful training.
- In addition, workshops should regional as much as possible.  It is often difficult to obtain the required experts and funds, and drawing participants from a number of countries in a region is the most efficient approach.
- Other efficiencies can be found by  using experts from groups such as scientific associations.  Examples of such associations are ISTA and AACCI.   In addition, the expertise available from scientists employed by technology providers and those from regional centres of excellence can be combined with these scientific organisations to give a balanced and science based approach to teaching sampling and testing.  Inclusion of a teaching staff with different experiences leads the best discussions of the issues.

• Should additional sections be included in the training material, focusing on the communication between policy and science?
- The training material needs to be focused squarely on widely accepted scientific principles as the policy environment varies widely from one region/country to another.  This group has had extensive discussions regarding what is needed in the technical training.  Adding to the scope by adding policy to the task would further complicate matters and delay progress.  Education of policy makers by including them in technical workshops is an effective tool for dealing with this issue.

Best regards,
Dr. Ray Shillito and the GIC.
posted on 2015-04-26 01:52 UTC by Dr Raymond Shillito, Bayer CropScience
This is a reply to 6749 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6750]
Dear Network Members:

On behalf of the Mexican Network of Laboratories, this opportunity to share experiences for consolidating the efforts and enhance the capacities of the Parties on the topic of detection and identification it is really appreciated. For which we would like to thank the Secretariat for coordinating this forum, as well as the valuable opinions of the participants with interesting discussions.

I wish to mention some of our experiences on training personnel, organizing workshops on detection, and producing material for such purposes at the national and regional level from our country’s perspective. In our experience, all three objectives can be met taking by advantage of local resources (both human and infrastructure), for the technical as well as general public; the guidance that this global network can provide to achieve this tasks will surely strengthen fruitful international collaborations.

Training personnel with none or little expertise is a big challenge, yet is not of much use if the trainees are not the people that will be in charge of the GM analyses. For such, we consider important that the scope of the workshop is well established from the beginning. If the main goal of this activity is to provide training and assist parties to set up their local facilities with little or mild effort, the requirement that trainees have some working knowledge of molecular and analytical techniques is convenient. Having reviewed the proposed Draft Outline, we consider that the topics on the document can easily serve to this purpose as it underlines general aspects of common interest including reporting, use of standards and good practices which is often overlooked.

Of high relevance is topic 4, sampling procedures. This can be a crucial aspect, not exclusive for detecting trace amounts only. Sampling is essential whether the sample to be analyzed is a commodity, or when field material requires a lab test confirmation. Sampling is also a challenge when facing food matrices especially for combined events. Even for labs with certain ability on the detection modules (downstream of the process) have issues for attaining good representativity of the starting material. Members of our laboratories have pointed out that this topic on its own deserves a workshop. In 2010, our labs held a workshop where the ISTA training was provided, the sampling topics were revised which was very helpful for increasing awareness among lab members on how to address uncertainty for this part.

Building up the capacities of the personnel of the laboratories of our national network, can also serve as an example. The basic needs of the lab groups that take part of it were initially addressed in a practical manner, having them to use collaborative studies as a means of hands-on experience. Independently from the good information that the participants could assimilate from a week or two workshop, finding the real problems when performing their activities on site brought the network to really support common technical questions, issues that can be resolved from more experienced colleagues within the network. As a result, not only human resources increased their performance and skills on detection, identification and quantification of GMOs, but also collaborations were established, interdisciplinary training is followed up making use of the member’s expertise, guidelines and reference material is produced. We imagine this can also be the case of the global network.

I would like to share with you a material that is part of the efforts of the National Network of Laboratories of Detection of GMOs in Mexico (See the document “Manual de Protocolos de Medición de OGMs”, Primera Edición, as an annex document). This material includes information in Spanish from the basis of molecular biology to the quantitation process through Real time-PCR. In our experience, there is a good amount of information for training purposes available as was indicated in the BCH compilation of tools and guidance, yet the main difficulty for our region is that most of it is in English and for our technicians, the mother tongue is Spanish.

When working with our colleagues at the regional level with the intention for building up capacity as a region through the RLAC-GMO initiative (The Network of GMO Detection Laboratories of Latin America and the Caribbean, a collaborative project starting from a series of JRC orientation and workshops), we also observed that Labs have different needs, and a heterogeneous set of skills on the technicians posed a challenge to program trainings of real use of every participant. For solving this situation within the regional network, a training program was designed, taking into account that general topics could be addressed for all sorts of trainees at the beginning of the course as a core module, but depending on the level of expertise a differential training can be provided. While those people in process of acquiring novel GM detection skills follow the general training, experienced personnel would benefit from more specialized topics such as validation, sequencing or digital PCR; despite the availability of laboratories that could host a good number of trainees in four countries and the decided interest of network members, the lack of financial resources for mobilizing experts unfortunately limited its implementation.

Regarding the recent comments about the target audience of the training workshops on the detection and identification of LMOs, we agree with the idea that the impact is greater if the training is focused in a specific target group; in this case the workshop should be dedicated to laboratory processes only (like sampling, extraction, detection, integration of results, interpretation of results, uncertainty, validation, etc.), because that is the goal of the laboratory Network. It is true that the whole process is a multidisciplinary task, but that means that for each target group (policy makers, regulators, etc.) you need to identify the specific need in order to build up capacities for stronger experts.

We recognize that different audiences could take advantage of the detection trainings (policy makers, regulating agents, general public, interested parties, etc.), but mixing them with technical laboratory personnel for the same training purposes in a single course may pose additional challenges and delay the expected results. Instead, for those audiences, general topics on biosafety that include a description of detection topics of interest are necessary, rather than a course that is designed for in-depth construction of technical capacities, as has been pointed out previously by our colleagues, and therefore, in our opinion, this should be regarded only for informative purposes and mainstreaming biosafety to these broad audiences. At most, what can be done is generate a program that could seek interactions for making a good use of laboratory results information or interpretation of lab data, allowing non-technical audiences to understand what can be achieved in terms of detection and which are the limitations of the methods in use; perhaps this issue can be thought better at a later stage or within the scope of a different objective of the Strategic Plan for the Implementation of the Protocol. As NFP of the Cartagena Protocol, CIBIOGEM performs trainings for capacity building in biosafety addressing regulatory aspects, social communication, and other elements of interest to broad audiences. The detection topics are also included in such trainings which sometimes are customized for policy makers and regulators. For instance, in our programs for regional cooperation, the participants have the chance to review information on GMO trends, biosafety, international and national regulation and are able to visit the National Competent Laboratories and their training facilities, where the personnel in charge demonstrate their activities and answer their questions. We believe this promotes a more organized framework for the trainees, considering the purpose of the training and their main interests. Please refer to our webpage for more details: http://www.conacyt.gob.mx/cibiogem/index.php/cursos-fortalecimiento-capacidades-ogms/curso-regional-fortalecimiento-primero
http://www.conacyt.gob.mx/cibiogem/index.php/cursos-fortalecimiento-capacidades-ogms/segundo-curso-fortalecimiento-ogms

As part of an integration process of different groups such type of exercises it could be very useful to share experiences and knowledge and organize a session together, but as mentioned before this is a different goal.

The rich discussion in this forum reflects the strong interest of the international community to make a good use of the available resources, so we appreciatte all the information and links provided.

Kind Regards.
posted on 2015-04-26 13:14 UTC by Dr. Natalhie Campos-Reales, National Commission on Biosafety and GMOs (CIBIOGEM)
This is a reply to 6750 RE: Opening of Discussion [#6783]
POSTED ON BEHALF OF NATALHIE CAMPOS REALES PINEDA
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Dear Dina,
Thank you for your kind assistance along the coordination of the Lab Network and the online forum. I just realized that we mentioned a Manual but the  document was not loaded with our comment. Please find enclosed with this mail the referred PDF.
Best wishes,
Natalhie.
posted on 2015-04-27 14:31 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD

   
   
Update on 2015-04-27
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