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Allergenicity assessment of genetically modified crops—what makes sense?

An Erratum to this article was published on 01 February 2008


GM crops have great potential to improve food quality, increase harvest yields and decrease dependency on certain chemical pesticides. Before entering the market their safety needs to be scrutinized. This includes a detailed analysis of allergenic risks, as the safety of allergic consumers has high priority. However, not all tests currently being applied to assessing allergenicity have a sound scientific basis. Recent events with transgenic crops reveal the fallacy of applying such tests to GM crops.

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Figure 1: Schematic interpretation of the weight-of-evidence approach described by the Codex Alimentarius Commission Guidelines for Allergenicity Assessment in 2003 (ref. 1).


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The preparation of this article was conducted with a contribution of the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research Division, supported in part by funds provided through the US Department of Agriculture. Additional support was provided by the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. Mention of a trade name, proprietary products or company name is for presentation clarity and does not imply endorsement by the authors. R.E.G. acknowledges Bayer CropScience for providing funds to support research for evaluating methods to compare endogenous allergenicity of crop varieties through research at the University of Nebraska. S.V. acknowledges Monsanto Company for supporting studies on the bio-variability of the allergenic potential of soybean varieties in comparison to transgenic lines.

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Correspondence to Richard E Goodman.

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Authors affiliated with the University of Nebraska declare that six international biotechnology companies (BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont/Pioneer, Monsanto Company and Syngenta CropProtection) cosponsor the AllergenOnline database, which was developed and is maintained at the University of Nebraska.

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Goodman, R., Vieths, S., Sampson, H. et al. Allergenicity assessment of genetically modified crops—what makes sense?. Nat Biotechnol 26, 73–81 (2008).

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