USDA testing lab planned

Officials from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA; Washington, DC) say they expect to have a specialized biotechnology reference laboratory up and running late this summer. The new laboratory, which will be part of the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), will be located in Kansas City, MO, and will focus on the use of PCR and immunology-based detection methods as diagnostic tools for testing biotechnology-derived grains and oils. Its functions will include evaluating and verifying validity of procedures used to detect and quantify modified traits in grains and oilseeds and establishing sampling procedures for testing these crops. GIPSA officials say that biotechnology has led to “increased consumer demand for conventional crops [that] has created a need for reliable testing methodologies to distinguish bioengineered from conventional crops.”

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Fox, J. USDA testing lab planned. Nat Biotechnol 18, 476 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/75261

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