Biotech Updates

A Comparative Study of Protein and DNA-Based Detection Methods for GMO Testing

May 18, 2012

Detection of genetically modified organisms can be done using DNA-based or protein-based methods. A project called Kernel Lot Distribution Assessment (KeLDa) was conducted by Claudia Paoletti of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other scientists to evaluate the performance of lateral flow strips (LFT), protein-based method, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a DNA-based method.

The team tested 1,500 soybean samples from 15 independent sources to compare the performance of the detection methods using indicators such as percentage correlation between PCR and LFT. The GMO content of the samples ranged from 0 to 100%, which allowed maximum assessment of the detection methods with respect to all possible GMO content scenarios.

Results showed that the two methods had very similar performance and very satisfactory capacity in detecting low amounts of target. Aside from the analytical performance, the team also considered the costs associated with the detection methods. They concluded that LTF is more appropriate for the conditions of the study, considering the unitary cost of the test and other costs involved.

Subscribers of Food Analytical Methods may download a copy of the paper at