11/19/2009 - See what you eat - broad GMO screening with microarrays (Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 10/2009)
Despite the controversy of whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are beneficial or harmful for humans, animals and/or ecosystems, the number of cultivated GMOs is increasing every year. Many countries and federations have implemented safety and surveillance systems for GMOs. Potent testing technologies need to be developed and implemented to monitor the increasing number of GMOs. First of all, these GMO tests need to be comprehensive, i.e. should detect all, or at least the most important, GMOs on the market. This type of GMO screening requires a high degree of parallel tests or multiplexing. To date, DNA microarrays have the highest number of multiplexing capabilities when analyzing nucleic acids. This trend article focuses on the evolution of DNA microarrays for GMO testing. Over the last seven years, combinations of multiplex PCR detection and microarray detection have been developed to qualitatively assess the presence of GMOs. One example is the commercially available DualChip® GMO (Eppendorf, Germany; www.eppendorf-biochip.com), which is the only GMO screening system successfully validated in a multi-centered study. Using innovative amplification techniques, promising steps have recently been taken to make GMO detection with microarrays quantitative.