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Pure Appl. Chem., 2010, Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 129-137

Published online 2010-01-03

Regulation and detection methods for genetically modified foods in Korea

Hae-Yeong Kim*, Jae-Hwan Kim and Mi-Hwa Oh

Institute of Life Sciences and Resources and Graduate School of Biotechnology, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 446-701, Korea

Abstract: Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been developed and commercialized in many countries for the past decade. The regulations on these GMOs in Korea have been established through the labeling and safety evaluation systems for management of genetically modified (GM) foods under the Food Sanitation Act enacted by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA). To manage these regulations effectively, several methods for GMO detection, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods and immunoassay, are applied. For detection of GMOs at the level of DNA, primers from the promoter, terminator, other marker genes, and expressed proteins used in a wide range of GMOs were designed for single, multiplex, real-time PCR, and microarray applications. In Korea, multiplex PCR methods specific to GM soybean, maize, canola, and cotton were designed. The limit of detection (LOD) value was determined to be 1 % of GM mixtures, which is a significant value for the PCR method used for the labeling threshold in Korea. A DNA microarray chip was also developed for the detection of 24 GMOs, including GM soybeans, 13 GM maizes, 3 GM canolas, 5 GM cottons, and 1 GM rice. This DNA chip was proven to successfully detect GMOs from raw and processed foods. In the near future, more powerful screening and detection methods are needed for handling many kinds of GMOs and unauthorized GMOs.