Overview of existing networks for LMO detection and identification
Dear Participants of the Laboratory Network,
Welcome to the discussions of the Network of Laboratories for LMO Detection & Identification. As mentioned in the email sent out by the Secretariat on the 9th May the activities of the network are reconvening with the view to achieve the mandates set out by the COP-MOP in their decision BS-V/9 and in the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
This discussion invites participants to provide an “Overview of existing networks for LMO detection and identification” through sharing their experience with networks they are members of, the scope within the network operates and how the network facilitates activities linked to LMO detection and identification. This will facilitate an assessment of the presence and activity of currently existing networks that connect practitioners and facilitate the access of LMO detection services to a wider regional area with the view to work towards achieving objectives of the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
We are looking forward to your contributions and a vibrant discussion amongst participants!
posted on 2013-05-20 02:51 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD
in Europe there is the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL) which was established in 2002. The ENGL deals among others with the harmonized implementation of EU legislation related to GMO (e.g. Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed). Technical aspects related to GMOs like the detection, interpretation and reporting of analysis results, validation of methods together with the European Reference Laboratory for Food and Feed (EURL-GMFF), reference material and many others are covered. It is the central European network of experts (for details see http://bch.cbd.int/forum/art18/customs
officers/cee/engl.pdf). In each European member states there are National Reference Laboratories (NRL). On national level in Germany additionally many reference laboratories for the detection of genetically modified food, feed and seed exist. This is due to the fact that each of the 16 German “Laender” (German Federal Lands) does have its own capacities and responsibilities for the routine analysis of GMO. Due to this federal organized structure national networks on GMO are in place. These networks support harmonization of official control of GMOs on national but also on European level, including the development and validation of real-time PCR systems for GMO detection.
posted on 2013-05-31 11:08 UTC by Dr. Sven Pecoraro, Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority
With regards to existing Networks, we are aware of several initiatives that are intended for building up knowledge on GMO detection as well as strengthen capacities at different levels. Fortunately, the scientific community around this topic is generally open to share their experience and promote fruitful interactions.
In Mexico as I mentioned before, there are three official laboratories in charge of GMO analysis, all responding directly to the National Competent Authorities: Health (CCAYAC-SSA), Environment (CENICA-SEMARNAT), and Agriculture (CNRDOGM-SENASICA). The three of them have specific objectives on each of these three sectors, but share experiences, materials, protocols, etc. and might have coordinated activities on occasion if necessary. A Technical Network exists as well in order to expand National capacity and take advantage of local expertise and resources (named RNLD-OGM, The National Network of Laboratories for the Detection, Identification and Quantification of GMOs; for details please visit http://www.cibiogem.gob.mx/redes/RNLD-OGM/
). The Mexican RNLD-OGM Network involves at the moment fourteen labs: Four National laboratories and ten others selected on the basis of their performance and results. For its conformation, the central labs, as well as several laboratories from Public Institutes and Research Centers were implicated in collaborative trials with the assistance of the National Metrology Center (CENAM), in coordination with the National Biosafety Commission (CIBIOGEM). This network was recognized by the Biosafety-regulatory authorities in 2012 as a useful Technical group, and has now the potential for developing certified reference materials, validating methods and address technical questions. Its activities include ring trials as well as training on specific topics (from the basics of detection to statistical data interpretation); at times such courses are open to technical staff from other countries (mainly Central and Latin America), for which collaboration with JRC and ISTA has proved very useful. Some RNLD-OGM members are accredited, some others conform to GLPs and demonstrate good quality results, yet those members will need to enhance their knowledge and/or applicability on the accreditation process, and therefore shall eventually require support for transit their practices for proper recognition.
Other regional initiatives built to face the challenges of reliable and accurate GMO detection through sharing networking expertise are being developed recently. For example, within our region, the Latin America and the Caribbean Network for GMO Detection and Analysis (RLAC-OGM) is emerging. Laboratories in the region are interested in exchanging their experiences and promoting synergies across the region for growing capacity and optimizing resources. The challenges faced are, besides technical issues common to the analytical arena, that trained personnel and infrastructure differs greatly, and as a result we all have different capabilities, not to mention the implications that the different regulatory approaches imply. For some countries technical expertise is strong given their commerce or use of GM crops, whereas others have just began to install facilities and/or train personnel. Again a lack of reference materials is a recurrent issue, availability of less expensive methods for detecting and in some cases quantify events that are of relevance to the region is a limitation since regional economies do not count on much financial resources, therefore efficient strategies to optimize analysis are sought.
Of particular relevance has been the support obtained from EU-JRC sharing The ENGL expertise through training and workshops across the globe. These efforts have elicited the participation of experts and other research colleagues that deal directly with the technical analytical questions on the subject, aiming to exchange ideas and practical advice on how best face new realities.
To conclude, I hope that the contributions within this forum can further enhance these activities with more technical background, and can provide for solid scientific elements with the assistance of expert advice. It is a big asset for our countries to be able to count on previous experiences and international advice for orienting better decisions, so congratulations on this effort.
All the best,
Natalhie Campos-Reales, Ph.D
posted on 2013-06-01 21:51 UTC by Dr. Natalhie Campos-Reales, National Commission on Biosafety and GMOs (CIBIOGEM)