Title: European Network of GMO Laboratories: Working Group “Seed Testing” (WG-ST): Working Group Report
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC99835
ISBN: 978-92-79-54207-7
ISSN: 1831-9424
Other Identifiers: EUR 27659
OP LB-NA-27659-EN-N
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC99835
DOI: 10.2788/418326
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Testing seed lots for the unintended presence of genetically modified (GM) seeds is carried out in European Union Member States (MS). The aim of the testing of seeds for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is to test whether GMOs are present in non-GM seed lots. Splitting samples of seeds taken from lots into subsamples, testing for the presence of GM seeds in each subsample, and counting the number of positive subsamples is a suitable method for estimating the proportion of GM seeds impurities with a specified probability. The detection of lower proportions of GM seeds in lots requires the analysis of larger seed samples and larger amounts of DNA. This entails more effort and cost to detect lower quantities of GM seed. This document aims at studying the relation between the impurity of GM seed that could be detected and the cost of the analyses required to detect the unintended presence of GM seed in conventional seed lots. A statistical model is elaborated to describe the relation between the impurity level of GMO seeds in seed lots that will, with a high probability, be reliably detected by test plans (the limit of detection) and the cost of the test plans needed to achieve this and effort devoted to the plan. Lowest-cost test plans were estimated for crops with test plan limits of detection at 5%, 0.9%, 0.5%, 0.1%, 0.05%, 0.01% and 0.005% GM seed. As the limit of detection for a plan is reduced, an increasing number of subsamples are required and the change in estimated cost becomes inversely proportional to the change in the estimated limit of detection. A halving from a low limit of detection to a lower limit of detection approximately doubles the estimated cost of the laboratory analysis. For high test plan limits of detection this has no effect on laboratory costs because there is a certain minimum effort required to test working samples of any size. The analysis showed that the rate at which cost increases is determined by the properties of the seed being tested: specifically, the size of the seed and the number of genome copies per mass of DNA.
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